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Tri, Tri, Tri Again 

Wednesday, May 25 2011
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The swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco is so formidable that prisoners who’d broken out of other penitentiaries were sent to the island prison because escape was considered essentially impossible. Two men who made it out of confinement and into the water drowned. Five others were never heard from and are listed as “presumed drowned.” Regardless of whether they made it, that 1.5-mile swim is a brutal proposition. Now add to it an 18-mile bicycle ride through the city to the Presidio (hello, hills), and after that an eight-mile run that includes sandy trails at Baker Beach and the Marin Headlands. Bear witness to this spectacle of endurance today at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. How many people are insane enough to do this? The event organizers say only 2,000 can participate. Only 2,000. They also say that each year the registration is full within hours of its opening. And it has existed for 30 years. Fortunately for you sane people who aren’t competing, there’s a spot in the city where you can see the swim, the areas where the insane — uh, the athletes — transition, and the finish line. Among the competitors are some real pros. Andy Potts will be there. He’s won the event three times. There’s also Michelle Jones. She’s won eight times. There’s a fitness expo that includes product demonstrations and vendors, so you can start to get in shape and be on track to compete next year — if you lose your mind, that is.
June 4-5, 7:30 a.m., 2011

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Keith Bowers

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