SAN FRANCISCO (Allie Rasmus/KTVU) - For the first time in recent history, the swim portion of the 37th annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon’ swim portion of the even was canceled on Sunday because of poor water conditions.
That means, the 2,000 registered athletes could still run eight miles and bicycle 18 miles, but not swim the 1.5-mile portion of the bay. The San Francisco Police Department's marine division issued a small watercraft advisory about 6:30 a.m., meaning that the weather and water conditions were too unsafe for the small kayaks that accompany the swimmers.
Triathlon spokeswoman DeeDee Taft said the decision wasn't made lightly, it was only after consulting with the police department and other race officials. She understands that people from all over the world would likely be frustrated to only participated in a "modified" triathlon, but that those people affected get "first dibs" on entering the full race next year. There will be no refunds this year for the current athletes.
In her recollection, the swim portion of the event has never been canceled before.
Several swimmers, even those who came a long way like Francesco Paez from Bogota, Colombia, told KTVU that they were disappointed, but that they understood the decision was made for safety. Eric Wright of Menlo Park added that he was actually slightly relieved because it is such a "tough swim."