Mad Dogs are one of the largest tri clubs in the US – triathlete


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A classic song by Noel Coward explains “only crazy dogs and English people go into the midday sun”. In Florida’s Tampa Bay area, that list includes triathletes – 3,936 of them to be precise. As one of the largest triathlon clubs in the United States, the St. Pete Mad Dogs spend a lot of time in the midday sun, exercising, racing, and encouraging others in their community to do the same.

“We like to say that we are fun-loving triathletes who train, race and howl together, with all levels of experience and expertise,” said John Hollenhorst, president of Mad Dogs.

The club was founded in 1993 by triathletes Rue and Kathy Morgan who wanted to promote the sport in their community. They saw their greatest chance in founding an organization that was equal parts training group and social club. In St. Petersburg, where the Mad Dogs are headquartered, many residents were not specifically looking for triathlons; Instead, they just wanted to enjoy the sun and year-round outdoor activities. After joining the Mad Dogs for open water swimming, group rides, and fun runs in a social context, many casual members were soon gripped by the triathlon virus.

The Mad Dogs pride themselves on removing as many barriers to entry as possible for new triathletes. When new members join the club, they receive a club shirt, a swimming cap, a calendar with daily free training events and access to an extensive network of triathletes, coaches, coaches and resources. They also run a free race called the Hair of the Dog Triathlon on January 1st each year, followed by a potluck lunch where new and prospective members can talk to veterinarians about triathlon.

The common motto of the Mad Dogs is that triathlon should be fun. While they have an impressive number of podiums (including the USAT Hall of Fame inducted Jackie Yost), they have few members who take themselves seriously. Mad Dog and the original Ironman Dave Orlowski can be seen participating in unusual events such as the annual Bikini Run during the week of St. Anthony’s Triathlon.

“This club offered triathletes between the ages of 18 and 93 an inviting and ongoing core to gather, exchange information, pursue their sporting dreams, support one another and celebrate achievements,” said Hollenhorst. “We work together to help our community and every photo taken at our events shows big smiles as attendees and volunteers share the joys of being a Mad Dog.”

About Clayton Arredondo

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