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Haskins a 4-time winner, Kemper also prevails at Chicago triathlon

LifetimeTri Chicago Triathlon. Sarah Haskins 31 Clermont Floridfinished first place with time 07:30:54   August 26 2012 | Scott

LifetimeTri Chicago Triathlon. Sarah Haskins, 31, Clermont Florida, finished in first place with a time of 07:30:54 August 26, 2012 | Scott Stewart~Sun Times

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Updated: September 28, 2012 6:18AM



The 30th Chicago triathlon came up roses and strawberries for the pros.

Sarah Haskins earned bouquets Sunday by winning the Life Time Tri Chicago, her fourth consecutive victory in Chicago, in 2 hours and 37 seconds in the rain. The Colorado Springs, Colo., resident is the only woman to win four times in Chicago.

Hunter Kemper earned his first Chicago win (1:48:51) after he passed Cameron Dye around mile 3 in the run. Dye (1:50:56, fourth place) spilled on the final turn of the bike race off Lake Shore Drive, leaving strawberries along his left side.

Haskins had to ask if she had any strawberries on her back after the race. She slid out in the same spot as Dye. But she was able to hold her lead, finishing nearly two minutes ahead of Laura Bennett of Boulder, Colo. (2:02:22).

The rain came in earnest when the pros started the swim about 11:30 a.m.

‘‘I have a visor on my helmet,’’ Haskins said. ‘‘I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, am I going to be blinded?’ I was banging on my helmet to knock the water off.’’

Not to worry — it was a dominating performance. She led virtually the entire race, expect for when Bennett climbed out of the swim a reach ahead of Haskins.

The swim was in Monroe Harbor, which had a slight chop. Near Randolph Street, the triathletes transitioned to their bikes, then rode north on Lake Shore Drive to Foster and returned to Randolph to transition into running. The finish was just south of Balbo on Columbus.

‘‘It is a great strength course,’’ Haskins said, trying to explain her success here. ‘‘There are not that many turns.’’

Or it may be that she is a woman in the prime of her career. The victory, her fifth of five triathlons she’s entered so far in the Race to the Toyota Cup, virtually locked up her third Cup title.

And she’s very competitive. Even the crash rubbed her the wrong way.

‘‘I haven’t crashed since 2009,’’ she said.

The ride on Lake Shore, treacherous with potholes and cracks in the best of times, played into the men’s race. Dye had ‘‘a good two-minute lead’’ when he took his spill.

‘‘It was just a dumb mistake,’’ he said. ‘‘I thought I was going slow enough.’’

Kemper, a four-time Olympian, took full advantage.

‘‘I am in good fitness and form coming out of the Olympics,’’ Kemper said. ‘‘I am in good form right now. I was the top American at the Olympics, but I am disappointed in my [14th-place Olympic] finish.’’

Stuart Hayes of London finished second (1:49:41), followed by third-place finisher Greg Bennett, the husband of Laura.

NOTES: Mayor Rahm Emanuel completed the sprint distance in 1:33:46, finishing 27th out of 124 in his age group (50-54).

† The quote of the week came from Stewart Weltman — the Chicago attorney who pulled together Chicago politics and organizers so the first Chicago Triathlon could happen in 1983 — on why he stopped doing triathlons: ‘‘I got bored with eating.’’

Visit chicagotriathlon.com for final results.



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