Over the past thirty years, Life Time Tri Chicago has grown to be one of the largest triathlons in the world. The race now attracts more than 9,000 triathletes and 20,000 race spectators who gather each summer along the Chicago lakefront to compete in and watch this unique and action-packed event.
Life Time Tri Chicago isn’t just one race; it’s a whole weekend of events and competitions. This year, the weekend kicks off on Aug. 23 with the Multisport & Fitness Expo at Hilton Chicago. On Saturday the expo continues and racing kicks off for the weekend with the Fleet Feet Sports SuperSprint and the Chicago Kids Triathlon. Then on Sunday, both the sprint and international distance triathlons take place followed by a post-race party.
To participate in any of these events, triathletes must register by Aug. 20 and hold USAT permits , which can be obtained as single-event permits for triathletes without annual memberships)
Chicago Multisport and Fitness Expo
The Chicago Multisport & Fitness Expo is one of the top shows in the sport. This free event features 150 exhibitors, over 200 booths and is open to the public. For registered triathletes, the expo will also serve as the site of mandatory packet pickup. Course talks, award schedule announcements and body marking also take place at the expo, which will be held in the Hilton Chicago on Aug. 23 and 24.
The Chicago Kids Triathlon
For young athletes, the Chicago Kids Triathlon is the perfect way to begin participating in the sport. This event is one of the largest triathlons in the world for kids, attracting more than 1,000 young athletes each year between the ages of 7 and 14. Participants can compete as individuals or in relay teams. Kids who are 7 to 10 years old will swim 100 meters, go on a 4K bike ride and finish with a 1K run. Those aged 11 to 14 swim 200 meters, bike an 8K and finish with a 2K run. The swim will take place in Lake Michigan beginning at Foster Avenue Beach and the biking and running legs will be held on closed roadways and running paths along the Chicago lakefront.
Fleet Feet Sports SuperSprint Triathlon
Taking place after the Chicago Kids Triathlon on Saturday, the Fleet Feet Sports SuperSprint Triathlon is ideal for athletes who either haven’t been training for very long or experienced athletes who simply prefer the speed of this event. This race is also set to start at Foster Avenue Beach, where participants begin their 375-meter swim. Athletes will then transition to a 10K bike course that is held on Simonds Drive. The run course is 2.5K long and is located on the running paths located just south of the Foster Avenue Beach.
Sprint Distance Triathlon
The sprint distance triathlon is a 27.8K (17.3 mile) race that is composed of a 750-meter swim, a 22K bike and a 5K run. The shorter of the two Life Time Tri Chicago events held on the Sunday of race weekend, the sprint distance triathlon is perfect for athletes who don’t have enough endurance or experience for the international distance race but are still looking for a substantial challenge. The race begins in Monroe Harbor, transitions to the biking stage, which runs up and down Lake Shore Drive and then finishes on Columbus Drive after a run in the area of the Museum Campus.
In addition to participating as individuals, athletes can enter the sprint distance race as a relay team consisting of two or three people. Team members share a single timing chip, which is passed from team member to team member during transitions.
International Distance Triathlon
About twice as long as the sprint distance, the international distance triathlon is a 51.5K (32 mile) race that is made up of a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike and a 10K run.
Participants can enter either as individuals, or as a part of a two or three person relay team. As in the other relay events, team members share a single timing chip, which is passed from team member to team member in during transitions.
Like the sprint distance event, this race begins in Monroe Harbor. After transitioning to the biking stage, competitors race for two laps up and down Lake Shore Drive. The run course begins at a grass reserve south of Randolph. From there, the course heads south beyond McCormick Place and loops back north past the Shedd Aquarium. Runners will then make their way to the finish line on Columbus Drive.
For professional triathletes, Life Time and Toyota are offering $500,000 in prize money as a part of their 2013 Professional Prize Programs. Professional triathletes will swim, bike and run on the same course as the rest of the international distance competitors.
Attending the Triathlon
While it’s recommended that participants park in the 9,200 space Millennium Garages located in Grant Park, spectators are encouraged to park at the Soldier Field North Garage Lot, which is walking distance from the events.
The Life Time Tri Chicago courses were designed to be spectator-friendly. For every event, all three legs of the race as well as the finish line are watchable from locations that are walking distance from the swim start area. This convenient course design makes it easy to watch the pros, cheer on family and friends and experience this spectacular event.
For more information on Life Time Tri Chicago, be sure to visit www.chicagotriathlon.com
Chicagoland Tri Series (sidebar)
The Life Time Tri Chicago is now a part of the Chicagoland Tri Series. This partnership is meant to encourage athletes to compete in both Life Time Tri Chicago and Leon’s Triathlon. There is no additional cost to enter into series competition. To participate, athletes must be registered at both triathlons and then sign up for the series at chicagolandtriseries.com.
Race times will be combined and tabulated to create an overall series score and the top individual and team performances will receive awards. This event is open to all triathletes from beginners to professionals. Anyone who registers for the series and participates in both races will receive an invitation to a season-ending Chicagoland Tri Series Athlete Party.
As an additional series challenge, both the Life Time Tri Chicago and Leon’s Triathlon will host a ‘Speed Trap’ activation area. This is a one-mile chip-timed straightaway where competitors will push themselves to the limit. Awards will be given to the three fastest male and three fastest female series participants.