While many know Jeremy Rielley for his consecutive wins of the Chicago Triathlon in 2015 and 2016, what many don’t know is he started his career as a runner just six years ago.
In 2010, Rielley ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and realized that running wasn’t filling the void of his soccer days at DePauw University in Indiana; he then started swimming and biking, and in 2011, he qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
This August, Rielley is attempting a third consecutive win of the Chicago Triathlon, claiming that would be the ultimate accomplishment. In fact, his favorite memory as a triathlete is when he rounded the corner on the finishing chute of the 2015 race by himself, and seeing his wife and mom cheer him on.
“It’s still surreal to say that I’ve won a race that big that’s been going on for so long,” Rielley says.
Of the three sports, Rielley says running is his favorite, because that’s what he’s best at. He claims to be worst at swimming, but after more training, he’s starting to enjoy the sport a lot more.
“I’m at the point where starting at the black line in the pool isn’t as terrible anymore,” Rielley adds. “I love the challenge of three individual sports because it is up to me whether I wake up to workout, or push myself during that last interval.”
In addition to his full-time training, Rielley is a physical education teacher at Dawes and Orrington elementary schools in Evanston. There, he tries to take his mentalities from endurance competitions, and teach the kids that hard work pays off.
“Its more about the hidden messages and mental things you go through in training that kids understand in sports,” Rielley says.
In fourth grade, Theresa Peterson loved running, and since then, not much has changed.
Peterson’s competitive running career started in high school, though, where she ran on the track and cross country teams at Mother McCauley High School. However, she also was on the basketball team, and ended up getting a scholarship to Columbia University in New York for the sport, and took some time off running.
“Honestly, I was a little burnt out, and then I had kids,” Peterson says.
Fortunately, former U.S. Olympian Jenny Spangler came into Peterson’s life a few years ago, and recruited her for the run- ning group in the north suburbs.
“Somehow, she got me fast and got me competitive,” she adds. “I started doing small races again, and this year I’ll be doing my first Chicago Marathon in 17 years.”
While 5K’s tend to be her favorite distance, Peterson says half marathons are a very close second. In fact, her favorite race was the 2016 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon, where famous distance runners Sarah and Ryan Hall helped her finish as the Master’s champion.
Peterson says she is thankful she was able to be reconnected with a sport that has become her true passion; this year, she is participating in the Chicago Area Runner’s Association Circuit for her first time, and is also a part of the Lake Forest – Lake Bluff Running Club.
“It clears the mind, it sets a good example for my kids, plus I find comfort in the friendships formed as well as a sense of accomplishment from the hard group workouts with Jenny Spangler,” Peterson reflects. “I may not win as many races any more, but I certainly relish when I can compete and often beat the 20-something year olds. It’s never too late to pursue what makes you happy!”