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    Posted July 25, 2012 by
    San Francisco, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Human to Hero: Sports Photography Master Class

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    Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     The 2012 annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, California provided the perfect opportunity for iReporter Jon Wollenhaupt to capture some excellent images of participants. More than 2,000 people took part in the event, which made photographing the event pretty hectic at times. "The elite athletes separate themselves quickly from the pack, making is seems like there is two or more races going on at the same time. It can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide what to shoot and where to position yourself to get a good shot," he told CNN. However, persistence paid off and the liveliness of the event is captured in the images, including a fantastic shot of a competitor in a fake prison stripe suit.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    The start of the annual Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon is perhaps the most dramatic segment of the race. A hour or so past dawn on the morning of the race, 2,000 plus athletes leap from the deck of a ship moored just off Alcatraz Island into the chilly brine of San Francisco Bay, where the average water temperature - even in mid-summer - is in the mid to high 50's. These amazing athletes swim 1.5 miles against currents that were one of the most formidable barriers to escape from the infamous prison.

    From the beach near the St. Francis Yacht Club, viewers have clear sight of the swimmers as they make their slow and steady progress; thousands of arms chop madly at the water's surface until eventually, exhausted, shivering, bodies begin to merge from the surf and shuffle down the beach. That completes first leg of the competition, after which ensues a mad scramble and transition to biking racing, then running.
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