Sunday, June 8, 2008

Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon

(Photo courtesy of the BBC.)

It's that time of year again...two-thousand athletes competed in the "Escape from Alcatraz" triathlon in San Francisco. Participants swam 1.5 miles to the St. Francis Yacht Club, then biked 18 miles and finished off with an 8-mile run. This was the 28th annual race. This years winners were repeats from last year. Congratulations to and Leanda Cave from Mill Valley and Andy Potts of Colorado Springs.

I wondered from where the name Alcatraz came. According to the Federal Bureau of Prions Web site, "the name Alcatraz is derived from the Spanish "Alcatraces." In 1775, the Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala was the first to sail into what is now known as San Francisco Bay - his expedition mapped the bay and named one of the three islands Alcatraces. Over time, the name was Anglicized to Alcatraz. While the exact meaning is still debated, Alcatraz is usually defined as meaning "pelican" or "strange bird.""

More from the Web site: "By the late 1850s, the first military prisoners were being housed on the island. While the defensive necessity of Alcatraz diminished over time (the island never fired its guns in battle), its role as a prison would continue for more than 100 years. In 1909, the Army tore down the Citadel, leaving its basement level to serve as the foundation for a new military prison. From 1909 through 1911, the military prisoners on Alcatraz built the new prison, which was designated the Pacific Branch, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks for the U.S. Army. It was this prison building that later became famous as "The Rock.""

Perhaps you already knew this bit of history. A bit of a refresher course for me. :)

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