Evergreen Park’s Martin Malone has run in several triathlons in his career – including the first Chicago Triathlon in 1983 -- but stopped in 2009.
In the 35th year of the event, Malone returned.
See, his son, Lucas, a former Brother Rice football player who is now living in Chicago, wanted to try the tri for the first time and Martin, who turned 60 this year, decided to make his comeback after he took what he called his “sabbatical” from the big races.
“He said he was going to do it and I said ‘you know, something? I turned 60 this year and I hit a new bracket,” he said. “I’ll be one of the youngest guys in the bracket. So I trained for it so we could do it together.’’
Martin finished the .93-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile event along Chicago’s lake shore in 2 hours, 56 minutes and 34 seconds on Sunday. He was 1,156th out of 3,037 overall and 14th out of 53 in the 60-64 male age group. Lucas, 25, finished at 3:18:13 and was 2,078th.
Martin, a former St. Rita hockey player, started his long distance running career with a marathon in San Diego in 1980. In 1983, there was talk about a triathlon coming to Chicago and he and some friends were all for it.
He said that the race was organized for a first-time venture but before the race, no one knew for sure if it would go on because of permit issues. Everything was resolved at the 11th hour and the race was on.
“The race was intriguing,” Malone said. “The running was 15K back then and the swimming was 2K. The run was 9.3 miles and the bike was 25 miles. I wanted to participate in it because I thought it would be fun.’’
He said the water was cold and people were fishing along the lake. He first thought the fishermen would be cleared when the race started but that didn’t happen.
“That was hilarious,” he said.
What wasn’t hilarious, however, was how he started the race.
“I got kicked in the face and my contact lens got dislodged,” he said. “I couldn’t stop. So I basically swam with one eye. I finished it and during the transition, I found it in my goggles and put it back in my eye for the rest of the event.’’
He said after the race, some of the top finishers ate and drank with members of the rest of the field.
“Obviously it’s not like that now,’’ Malone said. “It was a smaller group and it was pretty cool.’’
Another Evergreen Park athlete – Jeff Sabbath – continued his streak of participating in all 35 races. The 58-year-old is the only person to accomplish that. He finished with a 2:44.06, good for 617th.
Glenview’s Vachee Loughran won the race with a 2:01.12.