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updated: 8/2/2017 1:56 PM

Sprint triathlon reaches decade of racing in Naperville

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  • A 400-meter swim through Centennial Beach in downtown Naperville will be the start of the Naperville Sprint Triathlon for nearly 2,000 participants on Sunday as the race marks its 10th anniversary.

      A 400-meter swim through Centennial Beach in downtown Naperville will be the start of the Naperville Sprint Triathlon for nearly 2,000 participants on Sunday as the race marks its 10th anniversary.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer August 2015

  • Roughly 2,000 triathletes will bike 13.6 miles on the streets south of downtown Naperville on Sunday morning during the 10th annual Naperville Sprint Triathlon.

      Roughly 2,000 triathletes will bike 13.6 miles on the streets south of downtown Naperville on Sunday morning during the 10th annual Naperville Sprint Triathlon.
    Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer August 2016

  • A run along the Riverwalk concludes the Naperville Sprint Triathlon, set to take place for the 10th time beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday at Centennial Beach.

      A run along the Riverwalk concludes the Naperville Sprint Triathlon, set to take place for the 10th time beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday at Centennial Beach.
    Harry Hitzeman | Staff Photographer August 2016

 
 

For 10 years, one event featuring three sports has drawn nearly 2,000 athletes to downtown Naperville.

The Naperville Sprint Triathlon is celebrating its 10th anniversary with special medals, T-shirt logos and finish-line banners on display during the race, which begins at 7 a.m. Sunday at Centennial Beach.

The event's full decade in the Western suburbs shows the pursuit of swimming, biking and running is alive and well, and it's found a suitable home at the former quarry and on the streets of downtown Naperville, Race Director Bill Burke says.

For newbies, swimming in the relative calm of a water-filled quarry now used as a park district pool can be more comforting than having to brave the uncertainties of a much bigger body of water such as Lake Michigan.

The event's "Sprint" distance classification helps novice triathletes, too, because it signifies a more manageable endurance challenge, with a 400-meter swim, a 13.6-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run.

"If you want to get into the sport of triathlon, this is a really great entry-level event," says Burke, who plans the Naperville race for Louisiana-based Premier Event Management.

"It's spectator friendly. It's athlete friendly. The swim course is not real scary and ... you don't have to be concerned about safety."

Triathletes, though, should be concerned about timeliness and arriving early to prepare their transition zone in the Centennial Beach parking lot at 500 W. Jackson Ave.

Burke says he advises racers to arrive no later than 5:45 a.m. to check in and situate their biking and running gear at their assigned spot. Race organizers have emailed information about road construction on 75th Street as a reminder to allow extra time to make it to the starting line.

"This is not like a 5K," Burke said. "You've got to be prepared to get there early."

Small fields of racers in two new divisions also will be descending early Sunday on the beach grounds to prepare for their Aquathlon or Aquabike. These new activities each knock off one of the triathlon's traditional three legs.

The Aquathlon skips the biking loops and takes participants straight from splashing to dashing along the 5K running route.

"That's for people who say 'I want to be part of the event, but I don't have a really nice bike, or I don't have a bike at all,'" Burke said.

The Aquabike ends after the swimming and cycling with no pounding of pavement necessary.

"A lot of athletes like that, especially if they can't run because they've got a knee problem or a back problem," he said.

About 30 people are signed up for the two new events that put a twist on the history of triathlon in Naperville.

While some may think the Sprint Triathlon is 13 years old instead of 10, Burke says that's not quite the case. The first few years the race was hosted in the city, it was put on by the AARP, which meant it was only open to people 50 and older.

Sunday's race offers possibilities for nearly all age groups, with a kids race for those ages 7-15 and age divisions for teens and adults 16 and older. Online registration concluded Tuesday evening, but would-be triathletes still can sign up in person from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Naperville Running Company, 34 W. Jefferson Ave.

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