Chicago Triathlon 2023: Swim portion canceled due to possible dangerous conditions

Some Chicago Triathlon road closures in place

Christian Piekos Image
Sunday, August 27, 2023
Swim portion of Chicago Triathlon canceled due to lake conditions
The Chicago Triathlon course changed after organizers canceled the swim portion due to possible dangerous conditions in Lake Michigan.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 40th Chicago Triathlon took place Sunday morning, but the swimming portion was canceled due to unfavorable conditions.

A Beach Hazard statement is in effect until 7 p.m. for Lake, northern Cook and central Cook counties due to waves up to 6 feet and dangerous currents, the National Weather Service said.

Chicago Triathlon organizers canceled the swim portion of Sunday's event before 5 a.m., saying participants can instead compete in a duathlon, or run-bike-run, option.

Several people have been rescued from Lake Michigan over the last few days amid high waves.

The international distance participants began about 6 a.m., with the sprint distance participants starting at 8:10 a.m.

Waves of runners were released in time trial format from the original Swim Start area, proceeding north to cover the 0.75 miles. Athletes then completed their respective sprint and international distance bike and run courses, organizers said.

Thousands of endurance athletes from across the globe were along the lakefront for this year's Chicago Triathlon.

SEE ALSO: Road closures to go in effect for Chicago Triathlon this weekend, including DuSable Lake Shore Drive

Organizers said 8,000 people participated this year, ranging in age from 7 to 86.

They are representing 44 states and 23 countries.

Before the swim portion was canceled, the international triathlon was set to be a 0.93-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run.

One seasoned triathlete gave her advice for those doing this for the first time.

"In general, I just tell people have fun, and that would be today, despite how we might feel about the swim being canceled. Smile in that run up to the transition. I tell people to smile the whole time and that energy will just infect you and take you through the race," Kelly Dues said.

Cheers and high-fives awaited the super-athletes.

"It was a good run, good bike, no swim because it's really choppy. That was good for me," one participant said.

There was also a post-race party everyone was looking forward to.

"The weather was absolutely beautiful; we couldn't have asked for a better day. It was a little sad that we lost the swim part," Ty Kapitzky said.

Malachi Henry of Columbus, Indiana, was the first to cross the finish line Sunday morning.

"This is an awesome race. It's my third time doing it and third time winning it, so it's super cool," Henry said.

Orland Park's Gunner Hinger is just 14, and was among the first to confidently complete the race.

He's been doing these endurance events since he was just 6.

"Be consistent on your training and don't skip any days," he said.

Chicago's Natalie D'Agostino gave it her all in honor of her sister.

"We have a charity going for her, the Julie D Foundation; she lost her life to cystic fibrosis. She was my twin sister, 22-years-old. Me and a bunch of friends are out here in her honor," D'Agostino said.

Skokie's Bayar Bayarsaikahn ran to that finish line Sunday after dropping 245 pounds over two years, when he weighed 500 pounds at 29

He's now wearing that medal proudly around his neck in front of his supportive family, and he has a message for those who are doubting themselves.

"You just got to take it step-by-step, pedal-by-pedal and then you just gotta take it mile-by-mile. You gotta believe in yourself. That's all it is," he said.

Some road closures are in effect for the competition.