Sarah Haskins is congratulated by dad Brian last year after winning the Chicago Triathlon. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times
Triathlon At a Glance
When: Sunday. International distance, waves start about 7:30 a.m., male pros start at 11:27 a.m., female pros at 11:30 a.m. Sprint distance, 6 a.m.-noon.
Where: a 1.5-kilometer swim in Monroe Harbor, a 40-kilometer bike ride in laps north and back on Lake Shore Drive, a 10-kilometer run along the lakefront and around the Museum Campus with the finish on Columbus Drive.
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:25AM
Sarah Haskins has won the Chicago Triathlon in both extremes of our August weather. On Sunday, she will try to win her third consecutive Life Time Chicago Triathlon pro title. And she’s making a family affair of it.
‘‘The Chicago course suits me for a couple of reasons,’’ Haskins said in an e-mail interview. ‘‘The race is a non-drafting race, which is a strength for me since cycling is one of my stronger disciplines. With the long, false, flat uphill on the first part of the bike course and the typical wind, it makes for a true- strength bike course, which is a benefit for me. I also like the swim with the water usually being a bit choppy, which is my favorite swim conditions.’’
The course is the same as 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 love the swim because it is so unique in that it is a point-to-point swim,’’ she said. ‘‘This allows the spectators to watch us the entire length of the 1,500. It is so cool to see people cheering you on while you swim, as this normally never happens in an open-water race. My least favorite is the chance of high temps in late August; that makes competing grueling [like last year].’’
Last year, she won in brutal heat.
‘‘Yes, I don’t think we will have to deal with mid-90s,’’ she said. ‘‘The year before [in 2009], it was 68 degrees, so the two years could not have been more opposite in terms of temperature. This year will be closer to normal, not too hot and definitely not cold!’’
This year, she’s in the hunt for the Race to the Toyota Cup title (currently second). But Chicago will be special this year for the connections with her St. Louis-area family. Her dad is doing the Fleet Feet SuperSprint. Her little cousin is doing the UnitedHealthcare Kids Triathlon, and her brother is doing the international distance on Sunday.
‘‘This is a first,’’ she said. ‘‘My brother just started triathlons this year, and Chicago will be his first Olympic-distance tri. My dad started racing last year, but this is his first time racing in Chicago, and this is my cousin’s first triathlon. I have been coaching my family this summer, so it is exciting to see them understanding the sport and what I do.’’