Several thousand amateur and professional athletes from 28 states, Washington, D.C., and eight countries will swim, bike and run in the waters and roadways around Los Angeles in the 7th annual Los Angeles Triathlon, which starts at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, September 10th, at Venice Beach, at the ocean end of Windward Avenue in Venice.

The Olympic-style distance course begins with a 0.9-mile swim in the waters off Venice Beach. Next is a 24.8-mile bike course through Hollywood and, finally, a 6.2-mile run to the finish line at Gilbert Lindsey Plaza in front of STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Two local Venice residents will compete in this year’s triathlon. In all, 175 competitors from Southern California beach cities are expected to participate.

At age 63, Amy Galbraith, a grandmother of four and a mother of two, is back for the fourth time to compete in the triathlon. She has won her age group for the past three years, and she lives just a short walk from the Venice Beach starting line.

Venice resident Chris Foster, reportedly the only local professional track and field athlete in this year’s contest, has won contests in Redondo Beach and Santa Barbara this summer. In the Los Angeles Triathlon, Foster will be up against the largest men’s field since 2000 and tough international competitors, organizers say.

Notable competitors this year include 36-year-old New York City police officer Mark Desimone, who is competing in the Public Service Division. Desimone recently competed in the New York City Triathlon and enters the contests “to honor 23 fallen comrades from September 11, 2001,” Desimone says.

Also competing will be Army Major David Rozelle, age 34, from Alexandria, Virginia, who completed a second tour of duty in Iraq on a prosthetic leg and now helps fellow injured soldiers to reclaim an active lifestyle through his work at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He will compete in the Los Angeles Triathlon “Challenged Division” and he completed the Ironman Coeur d’Alene competition in June.

Australian competitors have won every Los Angeles Triathlon this decade, with the exception of last year, when it was won by a Canadian. This year, three Australian Los Angeles Triathlon champions are returning — Chris McCormack, winner in 2000 and 2001; Craig Walton, winner in 2002 and 2003; and Craig Alexander, winner in 2004.

American professionals who will be competing this year include David Thompson, Greg Remaly, Brian Fleischman, Lewis Elliot, Jeff Boyd, Jim Vance, Doug Friman, Haven Barnes, John Quinn and John Kenny.

Divisions include Olympic distance triathlon; short distance triathlon; three-person relay teams; bike-only segment; and swim-only segment.

Information, (714) 978-1528.

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