Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon 2021: British stars ready to roll

Holly Lawrence, Emma Pallant-Browne and Fenella Langridge will be among the starters for the 2021 Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon on Sunday.

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This is a preview of Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon 2021 – you can click here for a full report on how the race played out.

The Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon 2021 sees competitors take on a challenging course which starts next to the infamous Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, USA.

The event has been named with a nod to the notorious federal prison which functioned on the island between 1934 and 1963, with this year set to be its 40th edition.

During the early years several changes were made to the course but the version implemented in the mid-90s is still in use today.

Athletes will face the choppy, icy waters of San Francisco bay as well as the formidable Sand Ladder – a 200-plus-step climb up the cliff face on Baker Beach – in what is a uniquely challenging race.

Andy Potts is a six-time winner of the race, racking up his victories in a prosperous spell between 2007 and 2014. Ben Kanute has been the dominant athlete in recent years though, claiming wins in the previous three editions of the event.


When does the race start?

The 2021 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon takes place on Sunday August 15, with the race getting underway at 0730 local Pacific Standard Time (PST), 1030 Eastern Standard Time (EST), and 1530 UK.

The first professional athletes are expected to finish the race in around two hours.

How can I follow it live?

The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon app, powered by MYLAPS, has been freshly updated to support this year’s event and will provide live tracking of all participants.

What is the format for Escape From Alcatraz?

Escape From Alcatraz is raced over a modified international distance, consisting of a 1.5-mile swim, an 18-mile bike leg and closing with an 8-mile run.

The race gets under way with the athletes leaping into the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay from a ferry parked adjacent to Alcatraz Island, with the swim leg ending at Marina Green Beach.

Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon 2019
Photo Credit: Rocky Arroyo

After exiting the water, the participants make their way to Marina Green before embarking on a bike leg which runs along the shores of the bay to Golden Gate Park.

The athletes then retrace the route back to Marina Green before a run which takes them under the Golden Gate Bridge to Baker Beach, where they face the fearsome 200-plus-step Sand Ladder.

Looping back under the Golden Gate Bridge, the race finishes back at Marina Green where thousands of fans typically gather to voice their support.

Who is racing at Escape From Alcatraz?

An accomplished British trio of Holly Lawrence, Fenella Langridge and Emma Pallant-Browne will be amongst the starters in the women’s race at San Francisco Bay.

Lawrence’s place on Team Europe for the inaugural Collins Cup was recently confirmed, with 2021 seeing her claim victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Des Moines before a second-place finish at IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship.

ELSINORE, DENMARK - JUNE 23: Fenella Langridge of Great Britain, Holly Lawrence of Great Britain and Radka Kahlefeldt of Czech Republic celebrate on the podium after the IRONMAN 70.3 Elsinore on June 23, 2019 in Elsinore, Denmark. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images for IRONMAN

The 31-year-old has enjoyed success at Escape From Alcatraz in the past, clinching victory in 2016 before picking up third place at the 2017 edition of the event.

Pallant-Browne meanwhile has enjoyed a prolific 2021, with her most recent success coming on Saturday at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder, her second 70.3 victory of the year following her win at IRONMAN 70.3 Florida in April.

Emma Pallant-Browne / Specialized WIN tunnel / Wind Tunnel
Emma Pallant in the Specilized WIN Tunnel – Photo Credit: Jason Perry

[UPDATE – since publishing article, Fenella Langridge has confirmed to us that she will NOT be racing this weekend]

Langridge also comes into the race off the back of a strong result, having bounced back from DNFs at Challenge Miami and IRONMAN St. George to clinch second at IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene.

Fenella Langridge / REAP Vulcan

Jackie Hering, an automatic qualifier for Team USA ahead of the Collins Cup, is also set to be involved in San Francisco. She finished third at IRONMAN 70.3 Des Moines last month.

In the men’s race, Hering’s Team USA teammate Ben Kanute is gunning for a fourth consecutive victory. The 28-year-old finished nearly a minute clear of Joe Maloy in the most recent edition of the race in 2019.

Ben Kanute / Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon on June 9, 2019 in San Francisco, CA.
Photo Credit: Rocky Arroyo
Graham Shaw
Written by
Graham Shaw
Graham has been involved with TRI247 & RUN247 since the summer of 2021. Since then he has provided strategic direction for all news and is passionate about the growth of triathlon as a fan sport.


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