Thousands dip into Pacific, pack SoCal streets for inaugural Herbalife Triathlon Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- For the first time since 2013, a triathlon included downtown Los Angeles as part of its course.

Weekend warriors and elite athletes alike crossed the finish line Sunday in the Herbalife 24 Triathlon, which began in Venice Beach and finished at L.A. Live near the Staples Center. The course was a similar version to the one used for the L.A. Triathlon, but the last one was contested in 2013.

The Olympic distance triathlon began with a 1,500-meter swim in the Pacific Ocean, a 40-kilometer (25-mile) bike ride into L.A. and a 10K run (6.2 miles) in downtown.

"We wanted this race to really celebrate the city," race director Brennan Lindner said. "It is an urban triathlon and there are going to be high-rise buildings and probably going to be graffiti, but we all love this city and that's really showcased those areas. I think across the board there has sort of been the rise of the different races experiences that happen in city areas because we all don't live in a rural or tropical area."

The course, though, is not the one that will be used for the 2028 Olympics. Organizers have already determined that Long Beach will host the triathlon during the games.

More than 2,000 people signed up to participate in the race.

The CEO of the Union Rescue Mission, who lost his leg a few years ago, said he was honored to be part of the triathlon.

"My challenge is I am kind of doing a leg of the triathlon, because I lost the leg and they invited me out to try to do a 14-mile stint on the bike, and all of this is benefiting the Union Rescue Mission," Andy Bales said. "Wanna offer folks inspiration, especially the folks that I work with, the people who are devastated by homelessness, I wanna inspire them to give life another try."

In the men's elite division, Robbie Webster, who trains in Tacoma, Washington, crossed the finish line with a time of 1 hour, 50 minutes and 15 seconds. In second place, Robbie Decker from Boulder, Colorado completed the race with a time of 1 hour, 50 minutes and 44 seconds and Ben Collins from Seattle, Washington nabbed the last podium spot with a time of 1 hour, 50 minutes and 50 seconds.

Winning the women's elite division, Sarah Haskins, who trains in St. Louis, Missouri crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute and 7 seconds. Second place, Heather Jackson from Bend, Oregon completed the race with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, 26 seconds and Alicia Kaye from Clermont, Florida took the third place position with a time of 2 hours, 2 minutes, 5 seconds.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.