Knight favored in Steamboat Classic

Sunday, April 25, 2004

In its 20th year, the Steamboat Classic has become a fixture on the Southeast Missouri sports calendar. Another tradition is Barry Knight coming across the finish line first.

Can't hold a Steamboat Classic without Knight, it seems, although others in the field probably wish they could.

Knight, from Paducah, Ky., will be back in town today for this year's endurance event, which begins at 9 a.m. at Central Municipal Pool.

He has won the Steamboat Classic the last four years. He won last year in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 6 seconds -- less than 15 seconds off the course record he set in 2000.

Also expected back this year is the 2003 women's champion, Kristen Winkler of McKenzie, Tenn. She set the women's course record last year in 1:26:19.

The Steamboat Classic includes a 500-yard swim at the pool, a 15 1/2-mile bicycle ride and a five-mile run. The exchange points, to switch from one discipline to another, and the finish line are at Central Municipal Pool. The concluding discipline, the run, will include Broadway, Water and Independence streets.

Individuals and teams both will compete. Entries are sent into the pool in waves of 32 each time. The top 10 finishers from last year that are entered will be in the first wave.

Race-day check-in begins at 7 a.m. Race director Doug Gannon of the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department said 177 entries had been received as of Thursday and that the field again should be in the 220 range by start time today.

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