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2009 Press Releases
Top Athletes and Future Champions to Compete in Morton Plant Mease Triathlon

CLEARWATER, Fla., (June 23, 2009) - Aspiring young athletes will compete with some of the world’s top triathletes in this year’s Morton Plant Mease Triathlon on July 12th. The Morton Plant Mease Triathlon has been chosen as the 2009 USAT Florida Region Junior Championship. The race will give elite junior triathletes, ages 15 to 19, a rare opportunity to compete alongside champions. It is as an opportunity for the USA Triathlon organization to identify potential future Olympians. It will also be used as a junior qualifier for the 2009 International Triathlon Union Sprint Distance World Championship. “These young competitors will participate in the elite wave, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities to the USA Triathlon scouts who are there to identify the best junior talent the southeast has to offer. There aren’t many races that allow them to do that,” says Philip Lahaye, race director, Morton Plant Mease Triathlon. Approximately 50 junior elite triathletes are expected to participate. Some of the elite competitors registered for this year’s triathlon include Heather Gollnick, who is a five-time Ironman champion and female winner of the 2006 Morton Plant Mease Triathlon. She resides in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Palm Harbor’s Spencer Smith is a three-time World Triathlon Champion and two-time Ironman Champion. He has competed in every Morton Plant Mease Triathlon. Nina Craft is this year’s 2009 Gasparilla Marathon female winner. Craft holds the 2007 Florida Ironman title, breaking the record course by 20 minutes. She was also first place winner in the 2007 Ironman Brazil. She is competing in the race for the first time. Kraft lives in Clermont, Florida. Morton Plant Mease Foundation’s Skip Cline Young Leadership Society will donate proceeds from the July 12th Morton Plant Mease Triathlon to help fund the purchase of an infant simulator for advanced training of emergency care worker. “After reviewing the benefits of the baby simulator, we felt it was vital to support the Morton Plant Mease staff in being as prepared as possible in caring for their most vulnerable patients,” says Bryan Stanley, co-chairman of the Skip Cline Young Leadership Society. This device will allow physicians and health care staff to practice emergency care and clinical assessments that to better care for critically ill infants. Skip Cline Young Leadership Society is a group of young professionals who are the next generation of supporters and advisors of our local health care system. Members are age 45 and under and offer an active voice and philanthropic support of Morton Plant Mease Health Care. The Fourth Annual Morton Plant Mease Triathlon is scheduled for July 12, 2009 in Clearwater, Florida. The course begins with a 1/3-mile open water swim in the Gulf of Mexico at Sand Key Park. From there, the 13-mile bike route crosses Sand Key Causeway, through Clearwater Beach and over the Memorial Causeway, then winds through downtown Clearwater and scenic Belleair and the Belleair Beach Causeway. Runners complete the race with a 3.1-mile run through Sand Key Park. Fees will increase an additional five dollars after July 5th. Entry fees are non-refundable. Online registration closes on July 8th and no registration will be offered on day of race. Registration capacity is limited to 1000 entries. A $4,000 purse will be distributed to the top five Elite/Open Division male and female finishers. Custom plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female in each division and top three teams in each relay division. All race finishers will receive a custom medal. 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. Established in 1977, Morton Plant Mease Foundation is a charitable organization providing philanthropic support to the hospitals of Morton Plant Mease Health Care to achieve medical excellence and provide the care of our community needs. This year, the foundation has committed $7 million to help fund health improvement programs and initiatives including The Morgan Heart Hospital, Dr. George Morris Earn As You Learn Program, and Turley Family Health Center. ###