More than 9,000 athletes will compete at this weekend’s Transamerica Chicago Triathlon, which will feature a few significant course changes. In the elite race, Americans Ben Collins, Cameron Dye, Hunter Kemper, Sarah Haskins and Alicia Kaye highlight the start lists.
Previously known for its signature route through downtown Chicago, this year’s race will highlight a new single-loop International bike course. The route begins along Lake Shore Drive with scenic lakefront views, then heads to Lower Wacker Drive, the financial district, then the Lower Randolph Busway before turning around to head back to transition. Race directors decided to change the course to “provide athletes with the ultimate tour of Chicago, utilizing flat and fast roadways that are both well-known and not-so-familiar.”
A new swim start has also been adopted for the 2014 event. Elite athletes will enter the water first, followed by the International race participants then sprint athletes. The new single-loop bike course allows for more open space along Lake Shore Drive for finishing swimmers. (Read more about the changes here.)
The Pro Race
Professional triathletes will battle for the event’s $40,000 purse, with the top male and female taking home $8,500 each and valuable Life Time Series points. Chicago serves as the fifth of the six-race pro series, which will culminate at the championship race in Oceanside, Calif. on Oct 26.
Chicagoan Ben Collins is the favorite after wins at the Life Time Tri Minneapolis in July and the Panasonic New York City Triathlon earlier this month. His biggest competition will come from reigning Life Time Tri Series winner Cameron Dye. Other top male contenders include Jordan Jones (CAN), Hunter Kemper (USA) and Tim O’Donnell (USA).
On the women’s side, the favorites will be Alicia Kaye and Sarah Haskins. Kaye dominated last year’s Life Time Tri Series with Haskins on the sidelines after having a baby girl. Haskins came back with a vengeance, going undefeated during the first half of the season. She’s been battling injury over the last couple of months, so her condition will be a big question mark. Other top female pros include Lauren Barnett (USA), Lauren Brandon (USA), Sara McLarty (USA) and Jillian Petersen (USA).
Men’s Start List
Women’s Start List
Life Time Kids Tri
In addition, Saturday’s Life Time Kids Tri will host the largest event in its history with more than 1,100 children ages 7-14 breaking into the sport of triathlon, building confidence and encouraging healthy competition in a fun, safe environment. Awards will go to the top three boys and top three girls in each age group. The family friendly event will take place at Montrose Avenue Beach, along with Saturday’s SuperSprint.