Olympic hopefuls Matt Chrabot and Sarah Haskins take the titles at today’s Life Time Chicago Triathlon.
Written by: Erin Beresini
The fifth race of seven in the Toyota Cup Series, the Life Time Fitness Chicago Triathlon had a spectacular pro lineup. On the confirmed pro list racing for $50,000 in prize money were Olympian and three-time Toyota Cup Series champ, Greg Bennett and Olympian Hunter Kemper. Also slipping into the lineup was Olympian and 2010 Toyota Cup Series champ, Filip Ospaly.
Battling it out on the women’s side were Olympian and 2009 Toyota Cup series champ, Sarah Haskins; 2008 Toyota Cup Series champ, Becky Lavelle; and the defending Toyota Cup Series champion for the women, Sara McLarty.
Matt Chrabot, a 28-year old ITU racer who lives in Colorado Springs, cinched the men’s title today while Sarah Haskins won the women’s race for the third time.
The pros started after the age group race at 11:30 a.m., jumping into choppy, 78-degree water. Super swimmer Hunter Kemper was first out of the water with Ospaly only a few seconds behind. Matt Chrabot took charge early into the bike, leading at the 20K mark with Greg Bennett and the rest of the men close behind. Strong winds on the two-loop bike course broke the men up a little, but not enough to keep them from tearing each other up on the run course. Bennett took the lead two miles into the run course with Chrabot 20 seconds behind and Paul Matthews in the hunt for first. The three men ran close together throughout the run, but Chrabot outkicked Bennett for the win, crossing the line in 1:50:11, just 7 seconds ahead of Bennett. Matthews ran it in for third.
Chrabot’s take on the race: “I had a rough swim but I knew as long as I got out toward the front I’d be okay. I got bumped around a lot in the swim, but that’s just racing. Then I just hit it hard on the bike. I gave it everything I had today. We [Greg Bennett, Paul Matthews and Chrabot] traded off pulling on the run and made sure the three of us stayed in podium position.”
Sara McLarty, who lost her father earlier this week when he was struck by a car while riding his bike, led the women in the choppy swim and was first out of the water. Sarah Haskins was close behind, passing McLarty on the quarter mile run into T1. Haskins held onto her lead through the bike, coming into T2 40 seconds ahead of Alicia Kaye and Jillian Peterson. McLarty slipped into fourth by the run start. Once Haskins took off on the run, there was no challenging her. She ran in first all the way to the finish, crossing the line in 2:02:05, over 2 minutes ahead of 2nd place Alicia Kaye. Jillian Petersen rounded out the podium.
Haskins’ take on the race: “The swim was rough but I prefer that. I get excited when the water is choppy because that’s my strength. The bike was tough with the wind. I didn’t even want to take my hands off the handlebars to grab my water bottles–it was that windy. The first part of the run was chill–we had the wind at our backs–but then when we made the turn toward the finish it was tough. This is a strength course.”
Life Time Chicago Triathlon
Chicago, Ill. – Aug. 28, 2011
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Matt Chrabot (USA) 1:50:23
2. Greg Bennett (USA) 1:50:30
3. Paul Matthews (AUS) 1:50:50
4. Filip Ospaly (CZE) 1:52:22
5. Andrew Starykowicz (USA) 1:52:30
1. Sarah Haskins (USA) 2:05:05
2. Alicia Kaye (USA) 2:07:42
3. Jillian Petersen (USA) 2:08:31
4. Lindsey Jerdonek (USA) 02:10:10
5. Jenna Parker (USA) 2:11:15