Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bet You Can't Exercise 9 1/2 Hours Atlantic Beach Ironman Accepts the Challenge

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bet You Can't Exercise 9 1/2 Hours Atlantic Beach Ironman Accepts the Challenge

Article excerpt

ATLANTIC BEACH -- If you thought your day looked hectic,

consider this: By the time you read this, Atlantic Beach

resident Steve Petitt will be preparing for a grueling day that

will include a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race and a

26.2-mile run.

And he hopes to do it all in less than 9 1/2 hours. Not bad for

a man who entered his first triathlon on a bet.

Petitt is scheduled to compete in the 1998 Ironman Triathlon

World Championship today. It's the 20th anniversary of the

contest, and Petitt's sixth entry in the prestigious

competition.

A former minor-league baseball player in the St. Louis

Cardinals' organization, Petitt first saw the Ironman on

television. When he told a teammate he was going to enter it if

he ever left baseball, his friend bet him $100 he wouldn't do

it. After trying his hand at other triathlons, Petitt qualified

for the Ironman in 1989, won the bet and fell in love with the

sport.

"I knew right away when I did my first one, I was hooked,"

Petitt said last week as he prepared for today's competition.

Since competing in his first Ironman, Petitt has returned four

more times. Out of the five competitions, Petitt's best time is

nine hours, 42 minutes. He hopes to beat that time today. Petitt

thinks his training, which consists of teaching five

exercise-bike classes at Sportsplex in Neptune Beach each week,

and running and swimming several times a week, will allow him to

do just that.

"I'm totally confident, and my training's going extremely

well," he said. "I feel as ready as I've ever been."

John Wagener, the manager at Sportsplex where Petitt works as a

personal trainer and instructor, isn't surprised by Petitt's

training regimen or the fact that he qualified for the Ironman.

"Ever since I've known him, he's done this," Wagener said.

"It's not a surprise. He's very disciplined."

Petitt left for Hawaii, where the competition will take place,

on Monday so he could make final preparations for the race.

While he felt ready for the triathlon, Petitt said he needed to

adjust to the heat, humidity, hills and wind on the course. …

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