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Annual triathlon race in St. Petersburg raises money for health programs at St. Anthony's Hospital

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - From seasoned professionals to weekend warriors and beginners, the 41st annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon brought thousands of athletes from around the world to downtown St. Pete on Sunday morning.

They made a splash in the cool waters of Northshore Beach before hitting the pavement for an Olympic or sprint-distance bike race and run.

"It's really interesting because we have professional triathletes out here who actually do this for a living, "explained Director of Oncology for Baycare Health, Tim McMahon. "But most of what you see are the weekend warriors and those individuals that have day jobs, but they still go out, and they still swim, find time to run, bike, and they find time to come here on a Sunday morning at five in the morning to jump in the water to start this triathlon."

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For six of the Waechter siblings, who've all competed in triathlons individually, tackling this one was a family affair as they did it together for the first time.

"There's nine siblings total, and every year we get a little bit bigger group together," Joe Waechter told FOX 13 News. "We're all born and raised in St. Pete and we're a local home-grown family. St. Anthony's has always been a huge part of our community."

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Even though some racers didn't have their loved ones on the course with them, they were overwhelmed with joy to see their children, spouses, parents and biggest supporters cheering them on along the way.

"This is my favorite race I've ever done," said pro triathlete and first place female winner, Lisa Becharas, who returned from Colorado to compete for a second time. 'It's just really special to feel like so many people are supporting you."

The Triathlon was voted the second-best triathlon in the United States in a USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest earlier this year. Proceeds will go towards health programs at St. Anthony's hospital.

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