Stanfield captures 2nd triathlon title
Allen Stanfield of Ocean Springs won the 42nd Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon Saturday morning at the Neshoba County Fair with a time of 2:00:19.
Last year’s champion, Daniel Wile of Meridian, came in second with a time of 2: 02:55. He was followed by Caleb Earhart of Slidell, La., in third place, John Potter of Hernando in fourth place and Brandon Rouse of Saraland, Ala., in fifth place.
“It was really cooperative weather, it was really cool,” said Stanfield, who won the Heart O’ Dixie in 2013. “I have done this race seven times. I had a good swim and the biking was really good today.
“With this race, it’s the greatest thing when you come into the Fairgrounds. You have all the people from the cabins and the campgrounds coming and cheering for you. It makes a difference. The first year I did it was 2010. I look at this as the Mississippi championship.”
Anna Wile of Meridian was the top finisher in the Women’s Division. Wile is a past winner of the Heart ‘O Dixie. She finished with a time of 2:15:56.
Caroline Storr of Ocean Springs came in second, followed by Yekaterine of Biloxi, Courtney Ballard of Tupelo and Morgan Vian of Daleville, Ala.
“We got lucky it was a cooler day for it,” said Willis, who won the race in 2019. “I was pregnant with my daughter last year and they didn’t have the race in 2020 because of COVID so it was good to get back and participate. I had a good race day.”
The top male and female finishers from Neshoba County are recognized with the Dickey Nowell Memorial Award. John Miller won the men’s award with a 2:38:44 time. Crystal Bryan won the women’s division with a time of 3:10:58.
Dickey Nowell, a Philadelphia native, competed in several of the first Triathlons and was supporter of the event. He was friends with many of the members of the Philadelphia Sertoma Club which sponsors the Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon. Following his death after a long battle with cancer, his family established the award in his memory. The Sertoma Club has continued to give the award.
The Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon is a fund-raising project for the Philadelphia Sertoma Club. They use the monies earned from the race to fund charitable causes.
The first Heart O’ Dixie was held in 1980. It was the longest-running triathlon in the United States until it was paused in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The Triathlon begins with the .5 mile swim at Lake Tiak-O'Khata. That’s followed by the 27.5 mile bike race down Highway 15 to Philadelphia. The race concludes with a 7-mile run to the Neshoba County Fairgrounds.