WGN’s Mike Lowe is participating in the Life Time Chicago Triathlon to raise money for the non-profit It Takes a Village Chicago a non-profit that builds weight rooms for youth in underserved communities and underfunded schools. You can donate here.
Each Tuesday in August, we’re bringing you stories about the triathlon. Here’s Triathlon Tuesday Part 1.
CHICAGO — On a recent day in Rogers Park, Jason and Madeline Bussell were engaged in a sort-of daddy-daughter dash through their tree-lined neighborhood.
It’s part of the duo’s daily triathlon training program. They’ll move from running to a bicycle workout in the morning and swim several times during the week, too.
They’ve been preparing all summer for the Life Time Chicago Triathlon, a swimming-biking-running competition, that will attract more than 8,000 athletes to the Chicago shoreline on August 27.
Bussell, 51, has competed in a dozen triathlons and even done an Iron Man race.
Madeline is a veteran of three kid’s triathlons.
“We found out there was a kid’s tri. I asked Madeline if she wanted to do it,” Bussell said.
“Without hesitation, I said, ‘Yes,” Madeline said.
Madeline is now 14-years-old, the rising freshman at Walter Payton College Prep has graduated to a new age group and will compete with the adults — and against her dad — for the first time.
“For a little piece of me,” Madeline said, “I’m racing against him, because I feel like having the competition is really motivating me to go faster, work harder, train harder. To have a competitor that I know will not be mad if I beat him, that’s really supporting me in my training as well.”
Bussell said he hopes the duo can cross the finish line together.
“My dream is to cross the finish line together, maybe holding hands,” he said. “I think she’s in such good shape. She’s going to be waiting for me at the finish line.”
It’s an example of how shared goals bring people together at the triathlon, said Allison Humbert Wilkinson, a Life Time Chicago Triathlon spokeswoman.
“Madeline has been participating for years, and now she’s old enough to participate with her father,” she said. “So I think it’s such a cool parent-child bonding experience, to be able to share your passions with your kids.”
For Bussell, a veteran competitor, the advice is to enjoy the training as much as the race itself.
“It’s really more about the training. I don’t train so I can race. I race so I have to train,” he said. “The training is hundreds of hours and the race is two or three hours, so really enjoy the process. Revel in the journey. It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.”