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2007 Press Releases
Second Annual Morton Plant Mease Triathlon to Benefit Community, Hospitals

2007 Race Includes Top Athletes, Larger Prize Purse

CLEARWATER, Fla., (June 27, 2007) - World Triathlon and Ironman champions will be among the more than 800 athletes swimming, cycling and running their way to victory in the 2007 Morton Plant Mease Triathlon on Sunday, July 15.

Sponsored by Morton Plant Mease Health Care and the City of Clearwater, and sanctioned by USA Triathlon, the second annual event kicks off at 7 a.m. at Sand Key Park, 1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, Florida. The race features a 1/3-mile open water swim in the Gulf of Mexico, a 13-mile bike over the Sand Key, Memorial Causeway and Belleair Causeway Bridges and a 3.1 mile run starting and finishing at Sand Key Park. The event will help raise funds for the Morton Plant Mease Foundation and the four hospitals of Morton Plant Mease Health Care, all community owned facilities dedicated to improving the health of the community.

“The 2006 Morton Plant Mease Triathlon raised approximately $21,000. We’re hoping to repeat that success again this year, but on an even bigger scale with more athletes and a larger prize purse,” said Bryan Stanley, co-chair of the Morton Plant Mease Foundation’s Skip Cline Young Leadership Society, presenters of the triathlon.

Last year 464 athletes finished the first ever Morton Plant Mease Triathlon. This year nearly double that number – 850 athletes - are registered for the event.

Competing in this year’s triathlon are the following nationally and world-ranked athletes:

* Heather Gollnick - 2006 Morton Plant Mease Triathlon elite champion and winner of the 2007 Ford Ironman Arizona competition

* Spencer Smith – Three-time World Triathlon Champion and two-time Ironman Champion

* Marc Bonnet-Eymard – 2006 St. Anthony’s Triathlon Overall Amateur Champion. The 2007 Morton Plant Mease Triathlon will be Bonnet-Eymard’s first race as a professional competitor.

A $4,000 prize purse will be distributed to the top five elite male and female finishers. Last year’s prize purse was $3,000. Custom plaques will be distributed to the top five finishers in the following categories: 14 years and younger; 15 – 19; 20 –25 and upward in five-year increments to 85 years, 85 and older; Clydesdale; Athena; Novice; Skip Cline member; and physically challenged. All race finishers will receive custom medals.

You may also participate in the race by becoming a volunteer. Volunteers are needed to assist with registration, distribute water to athletes and assist at the finish line. Volunteers are needed July 14 and 15, and can sign up by calling (727) 820-7790.

Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is dedicated to providing community owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant Mease Health Care is comprised of the following hospitals – Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey.

Contact: Beth Hardy (727) 298-6199 Phone, (727) 419-4471 Pager or Amy Morrow (727) 461-8538 Phone, (727) 468-7586 Pager