• Jakob Irwin

Windy City Triathlon Relays

It is one of my favorite races of the year, one that I have done for three years in a row now. It is also one that has not gone without a glitch of some sort. This years glitch, the swim portion of the relay was cancelled due to the waters being to rough, creating unsafe conditions for the swimmers. Let me explain...

This particular race is part of the Chicago Triathlon series that takes place every August. The Chicago Triathlon is the largest Triathlon in the country! There are three relay divisions in the triathlon where you can complete with a team of three people. One swims, one cycles, and one runs. Every year the amazing company that I work for gets together and forms several relay teams to get together and participate in this event. This is where I come in. I am the runner on my particular relay team. We get together every year, and it seems as though we had just seen each other the day prior. Our friendship has grown and we now find ourselves traveling to other destinations throughout the country together to do other races together.

However, It is the Chicago Triathlon that started it all for us.

Sometimes however, mother nature seems to have a different agenda, especially in the Windy City of Chicago, and this year it was the swimmers that had to pay the price. We found out the night before our race, as we were eating our deep dish pizza and enjoying the company of other like minded individuals, that the swim portion of the relay had been cancelled due to safety conditions. My fellow swimmer was devastated, but he did get to be involved regardless. The swimmers were asked to run about .75 miles rather than swim. Not quite the same as swimming, but at least they were able to do something.

But our spirits were not broken and we found ourselves competing at a high level regardless. The weather ended up becoming quite calm as the day progressed and the competition was eager to cross the finish line. I found myself being monitored by some other runners as I eagerly awaited my cycling team mate to get into the transition area. Some of them even approached me and asked what pace I planned on running. This is always a tricky question to answer because you may want to start psyching the competition out now, before the run even starts.

My Teammate arrived and I was off!

Me and two other relay competitors visiting the Bean while in Chicago

I felt good throughout the entirety of the course, which is a decently flat course. The most difficult part of the race is the fact that there are so many people all competing in different races, but running on the same course. So I found myself often weaving in and out of large groups of runners, slowing my time down quite a bit. However, the conditions were the same for all of the other faster runners, so it was fare none the less. The greatest part of the race is the fact that despite it being a 10k, there was amazing crowd support along the entire course. This made the course go by much faster.

Running along Lake Michigan makes all of the hassles worth it though. Such a beautiful lake and a beautiful path to run on. for the 10k portion of the relays, you find yourself running by museums, old buildings, the Chicago Bears Stadium, Along Lake Michigan, all with thousands of other runners. It's surreal and magnificent in so many ways.

In the end I crossed the finish line in 3rd place over all out of the relay 10k runners. Our team placed 11th over all. But most importantly, we had so much fun and created another batch of memories that will go down in the record books. What can't be expressed enough is just how well organized and put together this event is every year. No matter what the conditions or hurdles are that take place, the event staff and planners always seem to make it work out in the end.

The after party is fantastic and the medals are of course amazing! Definitly try and find yourself a way in to this race as its one that you will likely always remember. Plus the city itself is always worth the trip.

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