St. Anthony's Triathlon changes security measures - WFLA News Channel 8

St. Anthony's Triathlon changes security measures

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The course is being set up for this weekend's events in St. Petersburg The course is being set up for this weekend's events in St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The tents are up and the stage is being prepared for the St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Petersburg.

This event brings in athletes from the pros to beginners. The course starts with a one-mile swim in the bay, then a 25-mile bike ride that winds through downtown, to Pinellas Point and back.  The last leg is a 6-mile run to Snell Isle, and finishes in Vinoy Park.

Race director Philip LaHaye says the Boston Marathon bombing caused his staff to tighten security for this weekend's events.

"Immediately following the Boston incident, [St. Petersburg Police] reached out to us and vice versa and we certainly had an open discussion about what we needed to do on our end to heighten security measures," said LaHaye.

One of the changes in security is that each athlete will be given a clear plastic bag to put their gear in, which will then be dropped off in the transition area the day before the race.  Athletes will get a second clear bag to bring in other items on race day.  Backpacks and other bags brought into the area will be checked by police.

"Most of the athletes have been receptive and under the current situation, post Boston, I think most appreciate that we are making an attempt to just try to heighten security," LaHaye said.

Another obvious change will be additional police presence above what they have had in the past.  LaHaye says it is important for the athletes to be patient with security so that they can be ready for the race.

"People don't like their race routine to be messed with, so anytime you insert something they're not used to it causes a bit of stress," said LaHaye.  "But I think all in all, athletes will realize once they stick a helmet and shoes into a clear plastic bag it's really not that big of a deal."

Check-in for the triathlon starts Friday morning.  The first start, for participants age 16 and older, is Saturday morning at 7:30 AM.

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