Sunday, June 9, 2013

The World Cometh to Chicago

Chicago is known as a running town. It hosts some of the biggest races in the country--and even the world--with thousands of participants speeding through the streets of downtown almost every weekend between March and October. There are also plenty of off-season competitions for those dedicated souls unafraid of the frigid Chicago winters. And in the next couple years, Chicago will become home to two more major racing events.

Australian Triathlon. Source: AP
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) announced last week that it chose USA Triathlon and Chicago to host events as part of the 2014 and 2015 World Triathlon Series. The series brings the world's top athletes together to compete head-to-head in eight regular season events, culminating in a Grand Final race.

Starting June 27-29, 2014, Chicago will welcome top triathletes from all over the world, as it becomes the third-ever U.S. city to host a WTS race – joining San Diego (2013 and 2012) and Washington D.C. (2009). It will join other stops such as Auckland, New Zealand; Stockholm, Sweden; Hamburg, Germany; London, England; and Edmonton, Canada. One-hundred and fifty of the world’s fastest triathletes – 75 elite men and 75 elite women – will compete in the Olympic-distance race, a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run. Amateurs can get in on the action, too, as sprint- and Olympic-distance age-group races will be among the divisions offered.

Chicago will also be the first U.S. city to ever host the WTS Grand Final, where overall champions will be crowned based on points earned throughout the season. The race course will include such famous landmarks as Navy Pier, Soldier Field and Millennium Park.
Chicago Triathlon

Chicago already hosts an annual triathlon that draws thousands of competitors to the city. But this kind of international sports event is not only a great platform to promote triathlons, but also a smart way to put Chicago on the map as a top athletic and leisure destination. Race participants, their families and friends, and thousands of spectators, will descend on Chicago, where they will discover everything the city has to offer. Not only that, the elite women’s and men’s races will be broadcast live to an international audience and streamed online, so millions of people around the world will witness the wonder of the Windy City.

I am excited to have such a prestigious event come to Chicago, and hopefully I'll be able to catch some of the athletes racing toward the finish line.

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