OKLAHOMA CITY -- The top tri-athletes from North, Central, and South America were in Oklahoma City Friday, preparing for Saturday's Boathouse International Triathlon.
The race is serving as the 2009 Pan American Championship and will feature athletes with legitimate chances of competing in the 2012 Olympics in London. Competitors will swim a 1,500 meter loop in the Oklahoma River, bike 40 kilometers, four 10K laps from the river to the Capitol, and then run a 10 kilometer course along the river, finishing in front of the Chesapeake Boathouse.
Total prize money for the event is $30,000.
Race organizers have expressed concern that heavy rains in the forecast might make the river unable to swim in, but the elite athletes say they're not worried; they've swum in water far dirtier and far more hazardous.
One of those competing for the U.S. is Enid, Oklahoma native Amanda Stevens. Stevens is a recent graduate of the OU School of Medicine, but is putting off a medical career in order to pursue her dream of qualifying for the Olympics. Stevens currently lives in Colorado Springs where she trains full-time, but says she is extremely excited to be back in Oklahoma, and excited to compete Saturday with friends and family cheering her on.
The women's elite event begins Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The men's event is set for 4:00 p.m. Junior events are scheduled for Saturday morning, with amateur age group races taking place on Sunday.