Sarah Haskins wins third Chicago Triathlon in row
By Dale Bowman For Sun-Times Media August 28, 2011 8:18PM
Professional triathlete Sarah Haskins takes high five's as she approaches the finish of the Lifetime Chicago Triathlon Sunday, August 28, 2011, in Chicago. Haskins won the female division. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:28AM
Sarah Haskins blew away the field on the way to her third consecutive Chicago Triathlon title Sunday.
Haskins finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 5.7 seconds, then lifted the ceremonial ribbon and held it while she waited. She had to wait for more than 21/2 minutes for runner-up
Alicia Kaye to finish in 2:07:42.2.
The men’s side, by contrast, featured a back-and-forth battle between Matt Chrabot and Greg Bennett. In the end, Chrabot outkicked Bennett in the final two miles to win in 1:50:23.9 to Bennett’s 1:50:30.2.
‘‘There was a strong wind out there, but I guess that is expected in the Windy City,’’ said Haskins, who came out of the bike transition well in front and put more distance
between herself and the women’s field during the run.
Stiff north-northeast winds put a good chop into the waters of Monroe Harbor and made for a split-personality bike ride and a tough run.
The Olympic-distance course was
the same as it has been in recent years: a 1.5-kilometer swim in Monroe Harbor, a 40-kilometer bike ride in laps north and back on Lake Shore Drive and a 10-kilometer run along the lakefront and around the Museum Campus with the finish on Columbus Drive.
‘‘I didn’t know what to expect,’’ Haskins said. ‘‘I just wanted to get finished.’’
Kaye and Haskins, who look so similar that Kaye has signed autographs in Haskins’ name, caused some confusion among race spotters, who at one point had the race close. In reality, it was all Haskins.
‘‘There is no [chink] in her armor,’’ Kaye said. ‘‘She is so strong.’’
Chrabot found a chink in the
armor of Bennett, who finished
second for the fourth time in Chicago. But it sounded as though the men’s side was more like a cooperative fun run, with many competitors looking ahead to Des Moines, which hosts the triathlon with the richest purse next Sunday.
‘‘We worked together on the run,’’ Chrabot said, referring to himself, Bennett and third-place finisher Paul Matthews (1:50:50). ‘‘We made sure the three of us stood on the
Chrabot took the windy conditions in stride, though they made for a choppy swim portion.
‘‘Bike wasn’t that bad,’’ he said. ‘‘It was a headwind [on the ride north] — I just put my head down and rode — and a tailwind on the way back.’’
Bennett said he reached speeds of 35 mph with the tailwind on the way back. Even so, he said, ‘‘Matty was too strong in the run.’’
Bennett hinted competitors might have been looking ahead.
‘‘There was a little bit of using
today [for Des Moines],’’ Bennett said. ‘‘A lot of boys came here with different ideas.’’
The hometown hero was Andy Starykowicz of Long Grove. He led the race during the bike portion but finished fifth in 1:52:30.
‘‘I did what I meant to do,’’ he said. ‘‘I gave everything I had.’’
Literally. At the end of the race, he collapsed on the back of Sun-Times photographer John J. Kim before race staff carried him to a chair.
◆ The best quote of the day came from Kaye.
‘‘The swim is the best,’’ she said. ‘‘It is great to swim in water that is clean, crystal-clear. It almost felt like I was in the Caribbean.’’
She said she has to take antibiotics to combat the dangers of filthy urban waters in other triathlons.
◆ Bob Oury, who has competed in all 29 Chicago Triathlons, finished second in his age group (70-74) in 3:36:20. He had won his age group the previous five years.