Triathlon draws 1,800 athletes to Naperville
Sheri Demy felt pretty good Sunday about finishing her first triathlon.
"It's a great feeling," the Dyer, Ind., resident said, gulping water and munching on a bagel at the finish line. "I know I could have done better, but it was my first one and there were a lot of people keeping the same pace as me. The important thing is I finished."
Demy was one of more than 1,800 athletes from all over the Chicago area and beyond who participated Sunday in the 11th annual Naperville Sprint Triathlon.
The event included a 400-meter swim, a 22K bike ride and a 5K run. Athletes were timed not just during the three activities, but also during the transitions between them.
As they crossed the finish line, participants were greeted by a wave of cheers and applause from supporters who filled Centennial Park. As friends and family moved in with hugs and high fives, the most commonly heard expression in the park was "You did it!"
"Finishing is a big deal," said Ashley Gulden of St. John, Ind. "This is my second time doing this triathlon, and it feels just as good this time around."
The race got under way at Centennial Beach in downtown Naperville bright and early; the swimming portion began at 7 a.m. The weather looked a bit ominous at the outset, but it turned out to be a good day to race -- mostly sunny and, for August, relatively cool.
"The only thing was the wind," said Naperville resident Doug Holmes, who achieved his personal goal of finishing the race in under two hours. "Normally, I'd say swimming was the toughest part, but today the wind made the biking a challenge."
Naperville resident Sean McNees, who also participated in the triathlon last year, said the transition from biking to running was the tough point for him.
"After doing all that biking, your quads are burning," he said. "And then you need to build up speed pretty quickly for the run. It can trip you up if you don't prepare for it."
McNees, a personal trainer, said Sunday's triathlon probably won't be his last. "I love the competitive side of it," he said. "You really get to see where you are in relation to other people."
Demy said that she'll probably attempt more triathlons, as well.
"The exercise is great, and I liked coming out here for this," she said. "I'm happy with how it went, but like I said, now I want to do better."