Believe it or not, it is almost time for the 35th annual Heart O' Dixie Triathlon which will be held Saturday, July 26 and is hosted each year since its beginning by the Philadelphia Sertoma Club.

"We have been working on it, and it is getting close," said race director B.J. Morrow. "We have a long check list and we have been making contact with everyone, from law enforcement to volunteer groups. It takes so many people helping on race day to put this together. We as a club could never do this by ourselves."

The start time is 6:30 a.m. The triathlon begins with the .5 mile swim at Lake Tiak-O'Khata. That's followed by the 27.5 mile bike race which progresses through the rolling red clay hills down Highway 15 to Philadelphia. It concludes with a seven-mile run to the Neshoba County Fairgrounds. The awards ceremony usually starts around 11 a.m.

Morrow said at last check, around 235 people have registered to compete in the Heart O' Dixie.

"We are hoping for about 300 people," Morrow said. "They had a big triathlon in Meridian last week and that usually creates interest in our event."

This is the Sertoma Club's only fund-raising project and Morrow said the money raised goes back into the community.

The Sertoma Club's mission is to help people who have hearing problems. But Morrow said money also goes to worthy projects such as the Philadelphia Youth Football League, the Boys and Girls Club and for improvements at Northside Park, just to name a few.

The Heart O' Dixie is the longest running triathlon in the United States.

It's not too late to enter. Just find the Heart O' Dixie Triathlon on the internet and that will get you started.