Colin Riley & Shelley Cook

Colin Riley
 2013 October Colin Riley

Colin riley never intended to become an elite athlete. On his high school cross country team Riley was a stong runner, but injuries prevented him from truly growing in the sport. When a friend invited him to try the Chicago Triathlon, Riley took on the challenge despite not having swum competitively in years and having next to no cycling experience. Riley grew to love the sport and now the 25 year old is a triathlon national champion.

Riley was the overall champion and age group national champion at the USA National Championships in Milwaukee. Riley says he owes much of his win to a huge improvement in his cycling ability, which he now considers his strongest sport. Since that first triathlon Riley went to the University of Illinois where he helped start the school’s triathlon club and now works as a coach.

While the national championship may be the headline of his year, it is far from the only accomplishment Riley has reached. In June, Riley won Leon’s World’s Fastest Triathlon and came in second at the Evergreen Lake Triathlon in July.

Shelley Cook
 2013 October Shelley Cook

At 23, Shelley Cook decided she needed to change things in her life and start running. While she began with only a few  miles at a time, that quickly grew to local road races. Now, Cook is not only running ultramarathons, she is winning them. Since the start of the year Cook has topped the female crowd in four ultramarathons with top ten finishes in three more. Cook’s most recent victory came at the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile. The 38 year old not only won but beat the second place female finisher by more than an hour nad a half. Cook also won the Frozen Gnome 50K and Earth Day 50K this year.

Dedicatoin and a drive to improve have never been issues for the Waukegan resident. Cook, who trains with the Jenny Spangler Racing Team, says she is constantly working to set a positive example for her daughter. Her goals have not dwindled with her recent success. Cook will run the North Face Endurance Challenge in Wisconsin in September and the Prairie State Marathon. She is, however, looking for a change of terrain. Cook has started competing and training for ultras in the western states. She plans to run the Leadville 100 through the Rocky Mountains.