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Heart of the Sound Triathlon in Burton celebrates 10th anniversary

The Heart of the Sound Triathlon has become a summertime fixture at Jensen Point and around the Burton Loop, as more than 100 athletes descend upon the neighborhood to take part in the three-leg athletic event. This years’ event takes place

at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, July 25.

The triathlon sprang up 10 years ago, the brainchild of several Islanders who had a vision to create a triathlon that would involve community members in its production and support Island high-school sports teams with its profits.

“It’s basically a small-town, friendly triathlon that tries to raise money for the local sports teams that help put it on,” said Bruce Cyra, co-race director of the event.

Heart of the Sound, which is also known as HOTS Tri, is a unique triathlon in the area, Cyra said.

Athletes swim in salt water off the shore of Jensen Point, rather than the freshwater swims that are part of nearly all the region’s triathlons. And competitors’ 12.5-mile bike ride follows a hilly and challenging course, one that’s more difficult than a typical triathlon’s bike portion.

The third portion of the triathlon, a 3.6-mile run, takes athletes twice around the Burton Loop.

Two years ago, the nonprofit that runs the race suffered a financial setback and was forced to put its adult triathlon on hold in 2009. The company that handled HOTS’ online race registrations in 2008 wouldn’t give the organization its entry fees, Cyra said. HOTS eventually settled the matter, he added.

He’s optimistic, however, that this year’s triathlon will be profitable.

He’s also looking forward to seeing young people, those up to age 15, participate in HOTS’ youth triathlon, which involves the same three legs of competition, but in shorter lengths.

The competition and camaraderie of the triathlon make it a truly homegrown special event, Cyra said.

“To do something that’s joyful in its very nature, and it’s exciting and challenging, it’s just fun,” said Allan Stover, who helped start the triathlon 10 years ago. “To actually raise money for the high-school sports is great.”

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