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CHICAGO — It’s Triathlon Tuesday on WGN News at 4.

The Chicago Triathlon is just 12 days away. WGN’s Mike Lowe is participating in the competition in honor of colleague Erin Ivory who is sidelined this year after heart failure. WGN has teamed up with the Lifetime Chicago Triathlon and the American Heart Association to raise awareness about heart disease as we follow Mike’s training.   

This week, he’s getting tips from experts on swimming and running.

“It can be a little bit vicious. I’ve definitely been elbowed in the face before. You want to keep your goggles on tight. You don’t want water flooding into them,” Tony Mattar, a former Northwestern University swimmer, said.

Before Mattar made headlines as one of the top realtors in Chicago, he made a splash as a Wildcats star swimmer — who qualified for the Olympic trials. He’s also a veteran of the Chicago Triathlon. 

After a few practice strokes in the waters of the Windy City, Mike got Mattar’s seal of approval.

“You did great,” Mattar said. “I think the biggest thing for you is just practicing staying on course.”

The next part of the triathlon course is the bike route. There are miles of trails to bike in the Chicago area from the 606 to the lakefront to the County Forest Preserves. Lowe chose the Green Bay Trail, which he says is great for biking because of the shade.

From the bike, it’s directly to the running path. The Chicago Park District has dozens of oval running tracks, free and open to the public, from Hyde Park to Rogers Park. But improper technique can lead to injury, so Lowe sought the advice of a professional.

Mary Kate Casey, owner and founder of Prep Performance Center, is a four-time national champion lacrosse player at Northwestern. She now helps athletes avoid injury and achieve optimal results.

“Use the power that your muscles need when you’re doing running,” she told Lowe.

He underwent some practice treadmill runs for video analysis.

“So we’re slowing it down so we can see your feet hit the treadmill, so if we pause it real quick, we’re going to draw some lines and I like using some color so we can understand where we’re at. Green means good and we’re out a little bit with that right foot,” Casey said.

Lowe admits that he has got many steps to go to hit the finish line but adds that he has the support of coaches, friends and family, including his nephew Connor.

“Uncle Mike, do you need a towel?” Connor said.

“I’ll need a towel — and your prayers if I’m going to finish this thing,” Lowe said.

If you’d like to help fight heart disease by contributing to the WGN fundraiser for the AHA, go to or text ‘WGN’ to 71777.

The Chicago Triathlon is on Aug. 29.