WALT'S LOOK AROUND: Heart O' Dixie Triathlon - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

WALT'S LOOK AROUND: Heart O' Dixie Triathlon

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

It’s too hot for most of us to get out and take a walk much less try to run, but last Saturday, some people did much more than that.

They swam, rode bicycles and then ran, all the way from Louisville to Philadelphia, and no one was making them do it. They WANTED to! It was the annual Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon.

The day starts pretty early when you have an endurance event like a triathlon. First one across the starting line stepped in the water at Lake Tiak-O-Khata at Louisville at 6:30 last Saturday morning. But that was late in the day for some of the entrants coming here like the Dickerson family from Biloxi.

"So we had about a four hour drive. Ended up leaving last night about 12AM," said Jarred Dickerson. "So, running on two hours of sleep. So we’re looking forward to the cold water. I figure that will be my coffee today."

This is the 36th annual Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon. It started as a fundraiser by the Philadelphia Sertoma Club.

"They will go in the water every five seconds. So it’s a time trial start," said Triathlon Official David Williams.

"And years ago, they used to all just jump in the water. And that was their starting," said Steve White of Louisville. "And now it’s computerized and they go one by one, it’s just so organized and they do a fantastic job."

Two hundred thirty-five people waded in one by one this year, swam a half-mile loop in the lake, climbed out and hopped on their bikes for a 27 and a half mile ride over the Mississippi countryside, down highway 15 through Noxapater and past Philadelphia to where you turn off to go to the Neshoba County Fair. That’s where they leave the bikes and then run the rest of the way. Seven miles.

The goal of some of these folks is to win their division. For many, just completing the course is wining enough. The last leg is a run through the cabins at the Neshoba County Fairgrounds.

People are sitting out on their porch having their coffee and watch them run by and some will applaud and some will not," said Williams.

One loop around the harness racing track and you’re finished. Participants love it because they can compete with themselves and better their best. And they also love this particular race because it ends up at the Neshoba County Fairgrounds, where they get a warm welcome every year no matter the weather.

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