Dr. Mark Felts and his daughter, Yana Byazrova, competed in last year’s inaugural TriKW, and were immediately hooked.

MaraTri MiniTri No. 2 next weekend

When 18-year-old Yana Byazrova told her father of her intentions to join the military, he obligingly signed up to help her train for such a feat.

“I said, ok, but we needed to do something hard,” laughed Dr. Mark Felts.

To his computer he went, and it just so happened that the southernmost city was gearing up to host their first triathlon event late last year.

On December 3, the duo swam, biked and ran the course in the inaugural Key West Triathlon, better known as TriKW, and Felts said the pair found the perfect competition to suit their needs.

“We both loved it!” he reported, adding the pair immediately purchased new racing bikes and has been training ever since. “One of the early races, we competed on our beach cruisers!”

They made mini weekend getaways out of competing in races all over South Florida, and even competed in the latest Spartan Race, an ultimate athletic event full of obstacles and physical challenges, in North Miami.

Then they decided to share their love of fitness with friends and family in the Middle Keys and decided to form Marathon’s first ever triathlon club, MaraTri.

In fact, as a few members of the Marathon Triathlon Team, or MaraTri, gathered at Sombrero Beach Monday afternoon for a training dip in the warm Atlantic waters, most admitted they weren’t previously tri-athletes.

Both Sara Mathis and Ken Troisi participated in The Weekly Newspapers’ Meltdown competition sponsored by Fishermen’s Hospital, and besides shedding dozens of pounds and quitting smoking, these parents have successfully incorporated their spouses and children into a healthy lifestyle turnaround.

“My siblings all live in different areas, and we used to talk two to three times a month,” Mathis admitted. “Since I started training, we talk every day and share our success stories. There’s also a lot of trash talking, too!”

Troisi, a park ranger at Curry Hammock State Park, said he and his wife make family outings of group bike rides and runs.

Pictured (l-r) are: Franco D’Ascanio, Dr. Mark Felts, Yana Byazrova, Sara , Rachel and Audrey Matthis and Ken Troisi.

“When we’re out here training on the beach, my son will play with Marc’s son while we’re in the water,” he shared of the camaraderie.

“More than anything, it was about lifestyle changes,” Mathis added.

Franco D’Ascanio Jr. found a triathlon club in Gainesville during his studies at The University of Florida, and the opportunity to continue his love of fitness and even help novice athletes fine tune their form are two of the reasons he quickly jumped on board with the formation of MaraTri.

“Plus, my friends from college will gladly take an opportunity to come to the Keys for a race!” he added.

Though Yana’s still undecided about her future in the military, she’s fully committed to her training regimen with some newfound friends.


MaraTri, will be holding its second event at Sombrero Beach on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 8 am. Billed as a “mini” sprint, it includes a quarter-mile swim, a 6-mile bike ride around the Sombrero Country Club’s golf course and a two-mile run in the beach neighborhood.

Medals will be awarded for first, second and third place.

The club will collect $20 per entrant or $40 per team to cover permit and insurance costs. Participants are encouraged to bring provisions and stay for an after-race barbecue and social hour.

MaraTri's first MiniTri in early July was well attended and fun for the whole family.

“We had about two dozen participants in the July race, and everyone had a great time,” said Felts, a Marathon chiropractor and amateur triathlon enthusiast. “But we would really like to encourage single-sport participants. Not everyone wants to swim, bike AND run. So, we are looking for individuals that would like to team up with other locals as part of a team.”

Cyclists are required to stay on the sidewalk and wear a helmet.

Participants can sign up on race day at 7:30 am or at the pre-race meeting for racers and volunteers to be held on Friday, Aug. 12 at 6 pm at Sombrero Beach’s main pavilion.

For more information about MaraTri, to register for next weekend or volunteer for the event, call (305) 731-5588; visit the club’s website at www.maratri.com; or email [email protected].


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