Chuck Rose gives an on-looker a high-five as he crosses the finish line.
Chuck Rose gives an on-looker a high-five as he crosses the finish line.
With the sun starting to burn through the few clouds in the sky, Chuck Rose of Grenada crossed the finish line with a time of 1:59:10 to win the 35th annual Heart O' Dixie triathlon Saturday morning.

Rose improved on his finish of third place last year, even though his time in 2013 was slightly better with a time of 1:58:32.

"I tried to go as hard as I could and whatever happened, happened," Rose said. "There were good competitors here, but I had a good bike so I didn't really have anyone on my heels at the finish."

The skies opened up for a bright and beautiful morning as competitors poured onto the racetrack. The weather today was a stark contrast from last year's rainy affair.

"With the humidity being low this morning, it made it nice," Rose said. "The temperature was just perfect. It warmed up later in the run, but it was nice out there."

Rose was the only competitor under two hours, but four other male athletes finished within four minutes of the mark.

Lucas Muniz of Starkville finished with a time of 2:01:09, Allen Stanfield of Gulfport in 2:01:15, Nathan Davis of Birmingham, Ala., in 2:02:13, and Aaron Ford of Saltillo in 2:03:48.

Sara Gibson of Madison dominated the woman's division, winning for the second year in a row with a time of 2:11:45.

Pam Cox of Ridgeland finished second and Alecia Webster of Theodore, Ala., finished third.

Richard Goldman won the Dickey Nowell Memorial Award for a staggering eighth time in ten years.

He finished with a time of 2:14:24.

Chris Careera of Brandon won the Male Masters division with a time of 2:12:16, while Ellisa Brown of Ocean Springs took home the trophy in the Female Masters division with a time of 2:39:36

The Heart O' Dixie Triathlon is a project of the Philadelphia Sertoma Club.

Members plan, work and coordinate the event, which starts in Louisville at Lake Tiak-O'Khata with a .5 mile swim.

Competitors then bike 21 miles to Philadelphia where they run the rest of the way.

Race officials said 292 people signed up for this year's event.