Get ready, get set for Santa Rosa Island Triathlon
BY JULIE B. CONNERLEY Gulf Breeze News, 2005
Ann and Charlie Knight were honored in 2004 with a polished granite monument for their tireless efforts as founders of the highly successful Santa Rosa Island Triathlon begun in 1996. This year’s SRI-TRI is dedicated to Charlie Knight who lost a courageous three-year battle with cancer last year.
One of Pensacola Beach’s premier shoulder season events, the popular annual swim/bike/run Santa Rosa Island Triathlon (SRI-TRI) has officially been given the “go ahead” by SRIA general manager Buck Lee and Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Bob Clark. The event will be held September 24 beginning at 7:30 a.m.
“I met with both men late last week,” excitedly explained Ann Knight, Race Founder and Coordinator for the event now celebrating its 10th year. “We have their support 100%. They feel confident the beach will be ready to handle the race and the businesses will be ready to welcome the guests.”
Ann’s husband of 52 years, Charles Knight, who served as Event Coordinator for the past 9 years, passed away shortly after his 76 birthday on New Year’s Eve 2004. He fought a courageous three-year battle against melanoma cancer. Last year’s race was canceled due to Hurricane Ivan. This year’s race will be held in Charlie’s memory.
“At this same time last year we had more than 1330 reservations,” said Ann. “Right now we are behind, with only 630 registered so far, but I am hopeful we will have a good turnout and the beach will bounce back.”
The new host hotel for this year’s event is the Springhill Suites. After being closed for ten months, they were only open ten days before Hurricane Dennis slammed the area and closed them down again. The hotel has 75 rooms already booked for the SRI-TRI. They too are pleased that plans are proceeding to hold the race, although some changes in the routing of the run portion will have to be made due to construction concerns.
Anyone wishing to get in shape for the triathlon is welcome to join the Mere Mortals, a free training group that meets almost every Sunday helping first timers prepare for a triathlon event. To learn more about the Mere Mortals, contact Tom Henderson at 932.6953 or Paul Epstein at Running Wild, 435.9222.