Sunday morning started off with a loud BANG! -- followed by a flurry of splashes and cheers.
At 6:55 a.m. on the dot, the annual Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon started with a splash as more than 1,400 people dived into Andrews Bay for the first leg of the race.
The triathlon is a staple of the Emerald City's Seafair celebration, celebrating its 60th year. The race begins and ends at beautiful Seward Park and features three different legs. Competitors start with a half-mile swim in the frigid waters of Lake Washington followed by a 12-mile bike ride around the surrounding neighborhoods and end with a 3.1 mile run to the finish line.
Though awards were handed out to the top three men and women finishers overall, we know that all of the competitors were winners on Sunday. All of the money raised by the participants and their loyal supporters goes to the Benaroya Research Institute to help fund research for type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Collectively, these three chronic autoimmune diseases affect more than 4 million Americans today.
The Benaroya Research Institute has been a leader in this type of research for years and relies heavily on community support. Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's triathlon, the Institute will be able to purchase new equipment and fund new research programs as a result.
Thanks to all the swimmers, runners, bikers and supporters who helped us get one step closer to finding a cure!