VENICE, FL - They're revving up to race in Venice this weekend. Hundreds of athletes will be swimming, running, and biking on the Suncoast in the the Rev3 triathlon. In the end the real winner could be our local economy.
Friday they were busy setting up. "We always joke that it's like the circus is coming to town," said head of the tour, Eric Opdyke.
They're ready for a weekend of activities near the Venice Fishing Pier. "A real big event for our athletes, customers, and families. We try to give them a lot of things to do."
That could be good news for local business.
"It's an economic stimulus," says Venice Mayor John Holic. Tourism officials say last year's race pumped more than $400,000 into the local economy. "It's great exposure for the city. People that live here, people visiting, and the athletes to be exposed to the city and see what we have to offer."
Restaurants, shops, and hotels will be seeing a surge. Many of the more than 600 competitors and their entourage are already in town says Opdyke. "Typically people come from about 40 different states. Six or seven different countries. They come from all over the world and all over the country."
Hundreds of locals are also taking part. "We have 653 volunteers. I want to thank each and every one of them," says local volunteer coordinator Candice Roberts.
It's all having an impact on some local organizations. "Over 21 non-profits, school groups, and running clubs throughout Sarasota County are going to benefit directly from donations given to them by Rev-3."
The race is the season finale for the tour. It includes more than a mile of swimming around the pier, a half marathon, and 56 miles of biking through parts of Venice and Nokomis. The area will experience some road closures at times says Opdyke. "Just kind of keep your eyes open for the bikes. They know the course is going to be open to cars too. We understand people need to get to church."
Wanting the community to come out and take part in what they hope will continue to be an annual event. "If you don't have anything to do then by all means please come out and cheer the athletes on. It really gives them a pump of energy."
There will be events going on Friday night and throughout the day on Saturday. The race starts at 7am Sunday morning.
A map of the bicycle course can be viewed HERE.
A map of the running course ca be viewed HERE.
According to the City of Venice, here are the traffic points the triathlon will have the most impact on:
Harbor Drive (from W. Venice Ave. to Caspersen Beach), 5 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Venice Avenue (from Harbor Drive to Jacaranda Boulevard traffic circle), 7:30 - 10 a.m.
Pinebrook Road (from Center Road to Laurel Road), 7:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Center Road (from Pinebrook Road to Stoneybrook), 7:30 - 10 a.m.
Jacaranda Boulevard (from Center Road northbound to East Venice Avenue traffic circle), 8 - 10 a.m.
Edmondson/Border Roads, 8 - 11 a.m.
Kilpatrick Road, 8:30 - 11 a.m.
Albee Farm Road (from Colonia Lane to Laurel Road), 8:30 a.m. - noon
Laurel Road (from Albee Farm Road to the eastern end), 8:30 a.m. - noon
US 41 southbound (from Colonia Lane to Tampa Avenue), 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Northern Venice island roads (Tarpon Center Drive, St. Augustine Avenue, Laguna Drive, The Esplanade), 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Lake Venice Golf Club will have access throughout the event.