Robert Garren


How did you get involved in the sport of triathlon?

I got involved in triathlon to continue being competitive. I ran in high school, I also did some small bike races. I never swam competitively, but I always enjoyed swimming for fitness. I had seen triathlon on the T.V. and read about it in the paper as child. It was something I always wanted to try. I thought it would just be a bucket list thing when I first signed up. My plan was to work my way to finishing the Chicago triathlon and be done. However after my first race I was hooked. I got sucked in by the racing and all the people around the sport.

Why do you want to be an ambassador for ITU World Triathlon Chicago?

I had the chance to go and race ITU San Diego and loved it. The professionals in triathlon are just like the age-groupers. This makes ITU events that much more enjoyable. You have the chance to meet so many great people. When I heard the event was coming to Chicago, I couldn’t wait to get involved. There is nothing better than the chance to be part of a world class organization in the city you call home.

What are your past and current club or team affiliations?

I’m involved with several triathlon groups. I’m on the international team lead by former ITU and ironman world champion Chris McCormack called Maccax. Locally, I’m a member of Prairie Dogs and suburban multisport triathlon teams. I’m also a member of Bradbury fitness, a group coached by Mary Bradbury, who is great at fixing my weak link which is the swim. I serve as a member of the USAT Mideast regional council. This allows me a chance to give back to the sport.

What is your favorite Chicago restaurant for pre-race or post-race food?

Around Chicago, there are several places I like. For pre-race food, I love Italian Village. They have great food and a relaxing atmosphere. For post-race or any other time I’m in a party mood, I like Fado’s Irish pub. If you are looking for a true Chicago treat, head to Rainbow Cone and get my favorite ice cream. There is one right in Millennium Park. Please don’t order chocolate of vanilla, you have to get the true rainbow cone.

Where is the best place to swim, bike or run in Chicago?

For training, Chicago has a lot to offer. Everyone swims at Ohio Street beach. It’s not deep and the water is calm. Running can also be done on the Lakefront Trail. While it is possible to ride there as well, I usually prefer to leave the city for cycling. Just a short drive from the city, we have open farm land to ride. This is perfect for long rides, with little traffic to get in the way.