HITS Triathlon Series returned to Ocala, Florida this weekend and celebrated their second-annual weekend of racing at Carney Island Park with over 1,000 athletes - roughly double the number that participated in the event last year.
"I think people are starting to realize that what we are doing is something really special," said Mark H. Wilson, race director with HITS Triathlon Series. "We offer opportunities for triathlon to be a family-affair, a weekend getaway and a training tool, as well as a competitive race environment. This year's races are really taking off and 2014 is looking to be even more exciting."
Brian Folts of Phoenix, Arizona swam, biked and ran his way to a Full distance victory this weekend, his second on the HITS series, and agrees with Wilson's philosophy of delivering the sport of triathlon to the masses. Folts raced Saturday while his girlfriend Monica Bishop cheered from the sidelines, and on Sunday the roles were reversed with Folts watching as she won the Sprint distance race.
"I love coming to support, but this was a perfect opportunity for us to come out and race together in distances that suit us," said Bishop, who picked up her first overall win with a time of 1:16:48. "I plan to do the Olympic at HITS Grand Junction and keep moving up the distances."
Folts posted a final time of 9:34:12 to pocket his second Full distance victory after he won HITS Lake Havasu City in November in 10:10:18. "Normally I am a good cyclist, but I definitely ran my way to the front this time," said Folts after running a 3:14 marathon to move into the top spot.
2013 HITS Triathlon Ocala Results:
Ocala, Florida - March 23-24, 2013
|Full Male Results||Time||
|Full Female Results||Time|
|Half Male Results||Half Female Results|
|Olympic Male Results||Olympic Female Results|
|Sprint Male Winner||Sprint Female Winner|
Half distance winner Stephen Patterson of Vero Beach, Florida admits that it was staying patient, smart and running his own race that brought it home for him this weekend. "Around mile 40 on the bike I felt like my legs were really strong and by the time I got off the bike I knew I was in good shape," he said.
Patterson was on a mission this year after placing second in last year's HITS Ocala Half. The rematch was one to remember as he again did battle with 2013 winner Andrew Heideman. Heideman was sixth this year. "The field was pretty stacked - there were a lot of competitive athletes out there and I didn't consider it wrapped up until I could see the finish line in sight," said Patterson.
Continuing its "a distance for everyone!"™ mantra, HITS Triathlon Series offered five distances in Ocala and welcomed athletes from across the East Coast and beyond to a weekend of swimming, biking and running. The event continued to grow the sport of triathlon as new triathletes were born from the HITS Open - a 100 meter swim, 3 mile bike and 1 mile run. Seasoned athletes, however, were welcomed to a picture-perfect swim in Lake Weir, fast bike courses and an exciting trail run during the Sprint, Olympic, Half and Full distance events.
The 2013 HITS Triathlon Series schedule continues April 13-14 with a weekend of racing in Napa Valley, California. The complete 2013 schedule is finalized and registration for all races is available at HtisTriathlonSeries.com. Due to the popular 2013 HITS pricing structure, it is expected that several of the five offered distances will sell out before each race day. As an incentive for early registration, all athletes who complete their registration more than four month out will receive 75% off the regular registration fee.
Click here to view complete results from HITS Ocala 2013.
Source: HITS Triathlon