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Chicago Triathlon: Warmer water & the top elites

Water temperature brought the biggest cheer Sunday at the 33rd TransAmerica Chicago Triathlon. The announcement at 5:30 a.m. half an hour before the start of 64.3-degree water in Monroe Harbor even had some giving a standing O.

“I was so grateful when they said 64 this morning, it was like Christmas come early,’’ said Jacquie Godbe, who won the women’s elite side in two hours, 14 minutes and 53.34 seconds. “It was 59 all [last week]. I became a groupie of water temperatures.’’

Two weeks ago, water was in the mid-70s before west winds upwelled a 20-degree drop.

Jeremy Rielley won the men’s side in 2:00:56.07.

Both of them were in their fourth Chicago Triathlon and both literally ran to victory in the closing portion.

The swim was in Monroe harbor. The bike portion went north to Hollywood on Lake Shore Drive and back, then finished on Wacker and the McCormick busway. The run looped around downtown with a finish on Columbus south of Balbo.

Rielley, 30, is Chicagoan originally from Evanston who played soccer. He said his dad, Kevin, who also competed, told him he was sixth coming out of the swim and third coming off the bike.

“I felt good, it was perfect weather for running,’’ said Rielley, an elementary PE teacher. “Of course, starting at 6:04 certainly helped.’’

Dawn lightened nearly imperceptibly through the fog and haze for the early waves. That held humidity near 100 percent but kept the temperature for most waves in the 60s. Overall, it was much better than the rains and cold of Saturday for earlier events.

A lake breeze put only a slight chop on Monroe Harbor.

The running weather suited Godbe, 25, a graduate student in chemistry at Northwestern. “That’s the fun part, passing people on the run,’’ said Godbe, who was in her first elite.

The South Dakota native swam for NU, so not surprising she was near the front in the swim and in second on the bike before she ran to first.

There were 30 waves from 47 states and 17 countries, typified by Chicagoan first-timer Jeff Sadowski, who said, as he waited on the shore of Monroe Harbor hours before his wave, “It is something I had to do.’’

All seemed glad about the water warm-up.

“It is reasonable in a wet suit, 64 is not awful,’’ said Chicagoan John Cooper, who was waiting to go off in the fifth wave. “It was a lot colder last week [50s].’’

This year, the Chicago Triathlon was slightly different with the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final coming in a couple weeks with the world’s top pros.

Cowbells, yells, bullhorns and impromptu bullhorns made from rolled papers and cardboard spilled encouraging words from the thousands of participants and spectators lining Monroe Harbor from the Shedd to Randolph.

One sign acknowledged the modern racing reality: “Pain is temporary. Results stay on the Internet forever.’’

For results, click http://www.chicagotriathlon.com/chicago/results/