It's a family affair at Naperville Sprint Triathlon

  • A lifeguard stands on a pedestal and keeps watch over the hundreds of competitors at the start of the Naperville Sprint Triathlon on Sunday at Centennial Beach. Competitors swam 400 meters before moving on to a 20-kilometer bicycle ride and 5K run.

      A lifeguard stands on a pedestal and keeps watch over the hundreds of competitors at the start of the Naperville Sprint Triathlon on Sunday at Centennial Beach. Competitors swam 400 meters before moving on to a 20-kilometer bicycle ride and 5K run. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Alex Arman, 27, of St. Charles starts the run portion Sunday at the Naperville Sprint Triathlon. Arman won the event with a time of 56 minutes, 23 seconds.

      Alex Arman, 27, of St. Charles starts the run portion Sunday at the Naperville Sprint Triathlon. Arman won the event with a time of 56 minutes, 23 seconds. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Early morning sun highlights competitors Sunday at the start of the Naperville Sprint Triathlon at Centennial Beach. About 1,800 competitors took part in the event.

      Early morning sun highlights competitors Sunday at the start of the Naperville Sprint Triathlon at Centennial Beach. About 1,800 competitors took part in the event. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Three generations of a DuPage County family had anything but a lazy Sunday morning in Naperville.

Dick Phelan, 72, of Hinsdale, his three children and two grandchildren were among roughly 1,800 entrants in the Naperville Sprint Triathlon. It started with a 400-meter swim at Centennial Beach, then a 20-kilometer bicycle ride and finished with a 5K run.

Alex Arman, 27, of St. Charles, took the men's division and was the overall winner at 56:23. Jennifer Garrison, 37, of Naperville, was the women's winner at 1:01:27.

Sunday's triathlon on a sun-splashed morning was Phelan's first. He got the urge to enter after seeing his 36-year-old son, Kevin, also of Hinsdale, in a triathlon.

Phelan wasn't a runner or swimmer before the Naperville triathlon. That changed with his training regimen over the past six months or so.

"I think it went just as I expected," said Phelan, who crossed the finish line in about 2 hours. "I trained well for it. But I had only one goal -- that was to finish. And we did it."

Phelan said he intends on the triathlon becoming a family tradition.

"As long he's doing them, we'll all be doing them," Kevin Phelan joked as the family hung out near the finish line.

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McKenna Ellis-Garcia, 10, of Chicago, was among the youngest triathlon entrants. While her 1:28:24 was eight seconds behind her father, Patrick Donovan, she eclipsed mom Margarita Garcia by nearly nine minutes.

Donovan said McKenna has done about 15 triathlons over the past three years. McKenna started swimming at roughly 6 months old.

McKenna, who particularly enjoys the swimming portion of triathlon, already has plans for an athletic endeavor when she turns 18. "I want to go to Europe and do my first Ironman," she said.

Joe LoPresto, a race organizer and coach and founder of Experience Triathlon, said the family participation often seen in the sport shows it's for everyone.

"That's one of the key pieces," LoPresto said. "People sometimes have an image of triathlon, like that's for people that were athletes in high school or elite."

Everyone who finished Sunday's Naperville Sprint Triathlon received a generic medal instead of one designed for the race. Finish line announcer Michael Zimmerman of Louisiana-based Premier Event Management said the Naperville medals and thousands for a race in Canada have been held up in customs in an unspecified part of China.

Zimmerman said the Naperville medals will be mailed to the participants.

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