KEY WEST, Florida Key — More than 500 athletes from the United States, Canada and Great Britain are to compete in the inaugural Key West Triathlon, set for Sunday, Dec. 5, in the subtropical climate of the continental United States’ southernmost island. A two-day fitness expo and pre- and post-race events round out the weekend action.

Presented by Key West’s Stay Fit Studio, the racing challenge includes swimming in Gulf of Mexico waters off Key West, biking along a portion of the Keys’ scenic Overseas Highway and onto Boca Chica Naval Air Station and running beside the Atlantic Ocean.

The event tests athletes’ endurance in Olympic distance and shorter sprint distance triathlons as well as team relay triathlons.

The weekend schedule begins with race packet pickup, an all-day fitness expo and dinner under the stars Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Marriott Key West Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd. Packets will not be available on race day.

Sunday’s sporting action is to begin at 7 a.m., with wave starts planned at preset intervals. The fitness expo continues from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and an awards ceremony is set for noon to 2 p.m. Plans call for a post-race party to conclude the events.

All participants that complete the race can expect medals. Awards await the top finishers in each competition, with age categories ranging from youngsters 10-14 to seniors over 80.

The Key West Triathlon is sanctioned by United States Triathlon.

Registration for the 2010 race is closed. For more information including a course map, visit www.trikw.com or www.stayfitstudiokeywest.com.

For lodging information in Key West, call 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539) or visit the Keys website at www.fla-keys.com. Keys information also can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/floridakeysandkeywest and on Twitter at twitter.com/thefloridakeys.

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