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Increased security at St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Pete

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

Saturday was check in day for the 3,500 participants in the 30th annual St. Anthony's Triathlon. This year participants are coming from 44 states and 23 different countries. Organizers say thousands more will converge on downtown St. Petersburg to watch. The event begins with a mile long swim in the choppy bay waters, then a 25 mile bike ride, followed by a 6 mile run.

Event organizers say security at the triathlon is always a top priority, especially in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. 

"We've always worked closely with the St. Petersburg Police Department on security," said Beth Hardy, a spokesperson for the event. "Security is always a focus. It's always something we're looking towards and trying to think about how we can improve it. Are there different things that we need to be doing."

Hardy says police officials are beefing up patrols and suggested using clear plastic bags for participants to place their belongings in, rather than backpacks. "The bags are clear so their much more easily identifiable," said Hardy. "And then that's an alternative to doing a backpack search for 3500 backpacks."

Participants we spoke with welcome the additional security.

"I think that the organizers of this race are taking some nice precautions to hopefully prevent anything like that from happening here," said Zach Hodgins, from Winter Park.

"The clear bags are a good idea. No problem with it," said John Smith of St. Petersburg. "We live in a day and age where that's, if that's what it takes to have a little fun and be safe, then do what you gotta do. "

The triathlon is scheduled to begin at 6:50 Sunday morning.

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