The Chicago Triathlon - Multisport & Fitness Expo

If you ran out of BodyGlide or need to restock your energy gel supply for the transition area, you can go shopping at the Multisport and Fitness Expo after picking up your race packet. Located in the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave.), the host hotel, the expo opens Friday at 3 p.m. and runs until Saturday at 6 p.m. In addition to housing packet pick-up, the Expo also features course talks, which are highly recommended for both seasoned and rookie triathletes. The talks detail any rule or course changes, answer questions about the race and feature raffle prizes at each session. It’s also the best time to get body marked to avoid any race-day lines.

At the expo, check out the latest in sports nutrition, gear and apparel, sports medicine and massage, training advice and clinics. Plus you’ll get the chance to meet some pros and thousands of other triathletes. The expo is free, so bring your support crew and be sure to check the list of happenings when you arrive.

Fleet Feet SuperSprint Triathlon

If the thought of swimming .75K, biking 22K and running 5K seems a little daunting, the SuperSprint offers triathlon disciplines at shorter distances. Starting at Foster Avenue Beach, just north of the heart of Chicago, the course includes a 375-meter swim, 10K bike and 2.5K run. The swim is also less intimidating than at the Sunday races.

The beach-start swim course takes place in shallow waters and follows the shoreline north before turning around. The bike route loops three times around on Simonds Drive, a closed park roadway, and the run follows a closed course on the running paths south of Foster Avenue Beach.

The 7:30 a.m. start means that participants will be off the course enjoying the post-race celebration by the time the temperature heats up. Awards are presented to the top three finishers in each age-group, and you must be 15 years or older to participate. Registration costs $51 if you’re a USA Triathlon member, $60 if you need to purchase a one-day permit.

Donald’s Kids Triathlon

If you want to see more than 800 youngsters race one another in friendly competition or give your kids some active entertainment for the weekend, head to the 15th annual McDonald’s Kids Triathlon. This event is one of the largest racing events for budding young triathletes and features an individual and relay-team competition. Children ages 7-10 compete in a 100-meter swim, 4K bike and 1K run, while those aged 11-14 compete in a 200-meter swim, 8K bike and 2K run.

The transition area opens at 6 a.m. with a mandatory course talk at 8:45 a.m. When the race starts at 9 a.m., you might want to keep your eyes on the Foster Avenue Beach to watch the kids running out of the water and into the transition area. Registration costs $37, and awards are given to the top three finishers in each age group and the top 7-10 year and 11-14 year relay teams.

Accenture Chicago Triathlon

Dubbed the world’s largest triathlon, an estimated 7,800 triathletes head to the start line on Sunday. Athletes begin in waves in the water at Monroe Street Harbor and head along the shore for plenty of viewing opportunities for spectators. The international-distance competitors swim 1.5K, bike 40K on Lake Shore Drive and run 10K along the lakefront with a finish on Columbus Drive. Sprinters complete half the distance. For the first time, the pros are running on the same course as all the international racers.

The first wave of age-groupers starts at 6:15 a.m., followed by the pro start at 11 a.m. Refer to the Course Map in the Spectator’s Guide for an idea of the best places to watch the race.

Post-Race Party

What better place to celebrate the end to a great race than at the post-race party? After racers finish and clear out their transition area, meet up with friends and family north of the finish line on Columbus Drive. Each participant receives a free entry into the picnic where you can refuel with food and beer, listen to live music, and loosen your muscles at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy tent, and find out who won. The party starts at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m.