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Chicagoland Triathlon Community Comes Together at 2012 South Shore Tri
The relentless heat of summer 2012 took a break Saturday, July 28th, as nearly 1,100 triathletes participated in RAM Racing's annual South Shore Triathlon; featuring Sprint and Aquabike distances, plus a Kids triathlon.
Participants battled each other and the crashing waves to complete the first leg of the Tri, then enjoyed biking on Lake Shore Drive which was closed to vehicular traffic between 31st and 71st Street. Pushing through fatigue on the final leg, they ran through Washington Park from the 63rd Street Beach House North to the Museum of Science and Industry enjoying awe-inspiring views as the sun rose over downtown and the Lake. Chase Baraczek from Wilmette, IL won the men's sprint with a time of 58:53 minutes while Aleena Villani of Pleasant Prarie, WI won the woman's sprint in 1:08:23.
Lake Michigan offered up some additional challenges with waves upwards of three feet throughout the swim portion but the triathletes rose to the challenge. Marsha K shared via Facebook, "My first triathlon race and a great introduction to the sport! Those waves and currents were monstrous, but we tackled them! Thanks, RAM... and congrats to all!" Echoing a similar sentiment, Bernard Lyles of Tri-Masters Sports Initiative calmed some nerves when addressing the Kids Tri participants, "Glad the water temperatures cooperated, these waves are just scenery."
Lyles is Program Founder and Executive Director of Tri-Masters Chicago, one of the event's official charity partners. He was beaming after the event, saying "I’m impressed all kids came out, some make excuses for this and that, but we got 'em here and across the finish line." Over 70 triathletes trained as part of Lyles' Tri-Masters program. Lennox, a 10-year-old member of Tri-Masters, said "It was good, but I'm very tired," he's participated in 11 triathlons and was recently profiled in the July issue of Chicago Athlete.
In her race report blogger Erica Reid commented on the event's positive atmosphere "I'm always so amazed at the support and encouragement at events like this, both from spectators and other athletes. I received so many encouraging comments and cheers and I chatted with so many other runners during the last leg (everyone commiserated about about how hard the swim was). I love this so much. It shows that we're all in this together, and it doesn't matter how you did or if you finished, but that you TRIED."
Reid captured the event's essence "South Shore Triathlon is open to participation by elite athletes, but it's more about a chance for Chicagoland's triathlete community to come together and push each other to improve," said RAM's Race Director Brandon Presern. The best example of this is the team put together by Dare2Tri, another one of the race's charity partners and the first paratriathlon club in the nation. Hailey Danisewicz, Dare2Tri's Development Coordinator, said "Overall it was a really great day ... Watching one of our young athletes crossing the finish line, an 8- year-old quadruple amputee, she completely rocked it. Seeing her smile as she crossed the finish line was incredibly moving for all of Dare2Tri as well as all the athletes.”
Founded in 2011, Dare2Tri Chicago is the first paratriathlon club in the nation. The mission is to get individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments involved in the sport of triathlon by providing adaptive equipment, coaching, race entries, handlers and guides. In addition to practices twice a week, we also host several off-season clinics and a weekend-long multisport camp. Whether the athletes are crossing the finish line of their first race or competing at the international level, dare2tri is there to motivate and support athletes in accomplishing their goals. For more information please visit www.dare2tri.org/
About Tri-Masters Sports Initiative Programs
Tri-Masters is a not-for-profit organization that empowers at-risk children via triathlon in order to teach life lessons. As youth athletes learn to swim, bike and run, they gain skills in goal-setting, conflict resolution, respect, responsibility, self-discipline and perseverance. See www.tri-masters.org/
About RAM Racing
RAM Racing was co-founded 10 years ago by Steve Ginsburg and Paul Rosenblum as a result of their passion for endurance sports. Since its beginning, RAM exploded onto the racing scene and now the RAM Racing series hosts 8 Chicagoland running and triathlon events with 8 Hot Chocolate 15/5Ks in key markets across the country. RAM is committed to providing an excellent, safe race experience with award-winning goodie bags; while focusing on well organized and supported race courses.