Chicago Triathlon Returns

By: Ashmar Mandou

This weekend, thousands of athletes from all over the world will descend onto the Lakefront of Chicago to participate in this year’s Chicago Triathlon. Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper spoke to three triathletes who shared their motivation to participate and why others should, too.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Harold Claros, 20

Harold Claros, born and raised in Honduras, will participate in his third consecutive triathlon this Saturday and aims to inspire youth to set goals.

What inspired you to start participating in triathlons?
Actually, a group of friends had the idea to participate and I thought to myself, “Why Not?” I was a good swimmer and was excited to do something totally different. No one I knew prior to that ever participated in a triathlon. It was something new and exciting. After the first year, I fell in love with it and just trained to participate in the second year and so on.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

What are you looking forward to the most this Saturday?
Just seeing all the people and being able to participate in a different city. It is a learning opportunity that I will take with me back home to Honduras. I’m looking forward to seeing other people there accomplishing the same goal. It is an inspiring thing to see everyone come together after working so hard. It is one of the best experiences of my life.

What advice would you give others interested in participating next year?
Just do it, why not. Why not? It is the best experience to have in life. It is not about the competition it is about having fun and achieving personal goals. So if ever you are afraid to do something or wonder, just ask yourself, “why not?”

David Aguirre-Lopez, 30

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

David Aguirre-Lopez beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2013 and will race this weekend to set an example for others struggling with an illness.

What motivated you to participate in triathlons?
I first participated when a bunch of college friends had the idea and it was something that was of interest to me. I wasn’t the best athlete, but I trained with my friends and got hooked. I have participated in triathlons in New York, Minnesota, in Spain. Now in Chicago and I look forward to participating in other cities.

You were diagnosed with lymphoma a couple of years ago, talk to me about that time in your life?
It was the scariest moment in my life because I felt fine for so long and kept entering triathlons. It wasn’t until 2013 that I began to feel this pain in my chest, but doctors couldn’t diagnose. The pain increased the next time I participated and that’s when I was diagnosed with Stage II. I immediately moved back to Spain to be with family and friends who were with me through chemotherapy and the recovery process. Through it all, I still had the desire to run. I needed to run to help me through it. I knew I still had it in me.

What advice would you give to those fighting through an illness who have the desire to achieve a tremendous goal?
Keep your mind right. Surround yourself with friends and family because that is the most important to your recovery.

Carlos Roman, 27

Carlos Roman will run in this weekend’s triathlon to achieve his goals and honor his mother.

What motivated you to participate in this year’s Chicago Triathlon?
My mom. She has worked so hard to get us where we needed to be in life, she’s the type of person that a lot of people rely on and look to for answers. This is my way of saying “I’ve made it”. In addition, I was always pretty active in high school with sports and college as well, but I started to realize that I stopped doing active events as I got older.

Your mother serves as your sole inspiration. She survived breast cancer, was a single mother raising two children, and weathered inequality and sexism to pursue a career as an attorney. What were the lessons you gained by watching your mother overcome hurdles in her life?
We’ve been through a lot, from moving at an age where we questioned everything, to having to make sacrifices to ensure we have a roof over our heads. When I was younger, I never really understood what sacrifices she’s made so that we have a better life. I always have learned that hard work and keeping the end goal in mind was the most important goal you can have for yourself. She’s lived a very interesting life, when she was diagnosed with Cancer, I couldn’t believe it – to me she was unstoppable. But even the strongest people in the world get tested in some way or the other; and I thank God that she pulled though. For us, our mother really inspired us to pursue not only our careers but ultimately a better way of living. She taught me to never stop pushing and pursuing. Which is why I wanted to show her I could do this.

What are you looking forward to the most this Saturday?
I’m looking forward to seeing the event! I heard a lot of great things about the atmosphere and vibes from the other racers and fans cheering on. I’m excited to see how that feels.

What advice would you give to those who would like to participate next year?
Sign up, even if you don’t have a clue where to start. Keep pushing and never stop; or doubt yourself – you will surprise yourself, I promise.

Comments are closed.