Event FAQ

Browse FAQ

General
Registration
Travel and Transportation
Weather
Pre-Race
Rules and Equipment
Swim
Bike
Run & Finish
Transition
Nutrition & Aid Stations
Spectators and Fans
Tri-Festival, Expo, Opening and Closing Ceremonies
After the Race
Event Impact & Road Closures

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please stop by the Athlete Information Tent in the Tri-Festival, and our staff will be happy to answer your questions.

Find more information in the Athlete Guide.

GENERAL


What is the Grand Final?
Throughout the ITU World Triathlon Series, top elite athletes accumulate points as they compete head-to-head at events located around the world. The series culminates at the Grand Final where the year's top athletes are recognized and awarded as the World Champion. Chicago will be the first U.S. city to host the Grand Final since the series launched in 2009.

How many athletes will be racing?
In the elite races, 150 men and women will be vying for a world title. In total, more than 6,500 athletes are expected to compete in the sprint and Olympic-distance races for age-group athletes, paratriathletes, juniors and under-23s, as well as an aquathlon, throughout for days of competition.

Do I have to qualify to race at the 2015 ITU Age-Group World Championships or Open Age-Group Sprint races?
Athletes have to qualify through their National Federation to race in the World Championships. No qualification is necessary for the Open Age-Group Sprint race . On-site registration will be available until the close of packet pick-up on Friday, Sept. 18, as space allows within respective age groups.

Do age-groupers and pro race on the same course?
Age-groupers and pros race at the same venue centered around Buckingham Fountain at Grant Park. Check out course maps and descriptions here.

Where can I find the elite start list?
All start lists are available here.

Is lost something at the venue. Is there a lost and found?
All articles found at the event, we will be dropped off at the Athlete Information Booth. After the event, all lost and found items will be taken to our office to be claimed. If you are missing an item after the event, please contact us at info@chicago.triathlon.org.

Where can I buy ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago gear?
Check out the online shop for shoes, apparel and accessories. You’ll find more gear on-site at the Tri-Festival.

Where is the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final?
The 2016 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final will be located in Cozumel, Mexico, on Sept. 11-18. View the full 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series schedule here.

I would like to volunteer. How can I sign up?
Thank you for your interest in volunteering. All information on the volunteer program for the event can be found at chicago.triathlon.org/volunteer. The page will direct you to our volunteer sign-up and all available times and options. For more information and to sign up for one of the volunteer opportunities, email volunteer@chicago.triathlon.org.

REGISTRATION


There is something wrong with my registration. Who can I contact?
Please send an email to registration@usatriathlon.org explaining what is wrong with your registration. Please be sure to include your full name, email address, date of birth and your registration confirmation code so that our team can address the problem.

Can I switch races?
You may not switch races or distances.

I registered for the World Championships or Open Age-Group Race but can no longer participate. Can I request a refund?
Our refund policy states that there are no refunds, rollovers, deferrals or bib transfers. Entry fees are non-refundable and may not be transferred to another individual under any and all circumstances, including, but not limited to cancellation of the event or of your participation. No exceptions.

I registered for the World Championships or Open Age-Group Race, but my name isn’t listed on the registered participant list.
The participant list will be updated every Monday. If you have signed up early in the week and your name is not yet listed, check again the following Monday. If your name is missing from the list for more than one week, please contact us via email at registration@usatriathlon.org.

Is it possible to register for the event on-site at the expo?
On-site registration will be available until the close of packet pick-up on Friday, Sept. 18, as space allows within respective age groups.

TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION


Do I need a visa to travel to the U.S.?
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B). Learn more here, including how to apply.

What is the closest airport to the venue?
O’Hare International Airport is located 17 miles from downtown and Midway International Airport is located 10 miles from downtown. Learn more here.

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?
GO Airport Express is the premier shared ride airport shuttle for Chicago’s O'Hare and Midway Airports and Convention Centers. They offer efficient and economical shared ride services, express luxury sedans and limo services as well as a complete line of charter vehicle services. Learn more and reserve your shuttle here.

How can I ship my bike to event?
Raceday Transport is proud to be the Official Bike Transport Partner of ITU World Triathlon Chicago. Raceday Transport offers two types of bike transport options to ITU World Triathlon Chicago. Learn more here.

Are there special event rates at nearby hotels?
Yes, we have negotiated special event rates with several hotels that are close to the venue. Click here for a complete list of hotels. The onPeak customer service team is happy to assist you with your hotel reservation. Feel free to contact onPeak via email at triathlon@onpeak.com or call 866-889-9633.

What are the best ways to get from my hotel to the race venue?
Due to various road construction projects in Chicago and road closures related to the race, we recommend arriving via public transportation. Find more information on bus, trains and parking here.

WEATHER


What is the expected air temperature for the event?
On average, the air temperature in Chicago in September is in the 70s Fahrenheit (20s Celsius).

What is the expected water temperature for the event?
Water temperature is expected to be between 60-65 F (16-18 C).

Should I pack a wetsuit for the race?
We strongly recommend packing a wetsuit. If you need a wetsuit for the race, Urban TriGear will be providing wetsuit sales and rentals for TYR Sport at the event. They will be on-site or you can contact them before to secure your wetsuit at one of their two retail locations in Westmont, Illinois: 804 East Ogden Ave., 630-230-9386 and 842 East Ogden Ave, 630-468-2992.

How often is WTS Chicago checking water temperatures?
We have been monitoring temperatures in Lake Michigan through local meteorological sources, and as the event approaches, we will be regularly monitoring water temperatures in the harbor where the swim will be held.

Do you have tips for swimming in cold water?
It's important to be prepared for any race conditions you may face. This article outlines eight tips to handle swimming in cold water, and may be a good resource for you as we approach race day.

What happens if there are thunderstorms?
We have contingency plans in place for unexpected weather, and we will update participants with any new information via social media and email if and when appropriate. All participants should familiarize themselves with the Event Alert System prior to the event, remain alert for directions from race officials and announcers and take precautions to prepare properly for varying weather conditions on race day.

PRE-RACE


What is packet pick-up?
Packet pick-up is where all age-group athletes will check into the event and pick up their race packets. Packet pick-up is located at the Tri-Festival Expo in Grant Park, which is between Monroe St. & Jackson St. (north & south) and Columbus Dr. & Lake Shore Drive (east & west). View the packet pick-up schedule here. World Championships athletes are required to pick up their packets during their country’s assigned times. Please note that there is no packet pick-up on race morning. Race packets include helmet stickers, bike sticker, timing chip, swim cap, race bib and grandstand tickets (if purchased). It is your responsibility to check your packet to make sure you receive each of these items.

What do I need to bring to packet pick-up?
You will need to bring a government-issued ID to pick up your packet. If you’re racing in the Open Age-Group Sprint Race, you will also need your USA Triathlon membership card or one-day membership.

I won’t be in town in time for my race’s scheduled pick-up. Can I get my packet at a different time?
Please email registration@usatriathlon.org if you cannot make your assigned packet pick-up time.

Can I pick up my friend’s race packet?
All athletes are required to pick up their own packets; there will be no exceptions.

Where do I get my timing chip?
Your timing chip will be included in your race packet.

When and where is bike check-in?
You can find the full transition check-in and checkout schedule here. Bike check-in will take place at transition. Please check your race’s course map to see where transition is located, as there are multiple transition areas throughout the venue.

All athletes will have their helmets, bike, uniform and race number checked by a technical official upon entering the transition area. We therefore ask all competitors to be wearing their helmets and have their race number clearly showing as they enter the transition area. All helmets and bikes must be stickered up with their correct numbered stickers included in the race package during registration. On race day, World Championships athletes will be granted brief access to the transition area to drop off any gear they might need.

Is there a gear check?
Yes, athletes will be provided with a plastic bag at the secure gear check on race morning.

Is there a course familiarization?
Yes, here is the schedule for World Championships and elite athletes’ familiarization times. Athletes should check with their team managers and coaches for more details.

Can you recommend places to swim, bike and run prior to the race?
The swim course is located in an active boat harbor, and athletes are prohibited from swimming in the harbor prior to race day. All athletes are encouraged to swim at Ohio Street Beach located at Ohio Street and Lake Shore Drive — one mile north of Monroe Harbor. Athletes must stay inside the marker buoys as boats will be active. Distance swimming is recommended by swimming parallel to the shoreline. There will be no lifeguards present. Athletes are advised to swim at their own risk.

For additional swim options, Fitness Formula Clubs (FFC) has five locations in the city with multi-lane lap pools. See ffc. com/club-locations for a list of locations and hours. ITU athletes can access FFC health clubs and train on their own for a special rate of $25 for the entire week from Monday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 20. Please contact endurance@ffc.com to inquire about purchasing discounted passes.

Due to the compact nature of the competition schedule and the race course located on busy roadways, there will be no opportunity to ride the bike course in advance of the event. Chicago is a city with a lot of vehicular traffic with extensive construction zones. It is therefore suggested that athletes do not attempt to ride on the roads used for the competition.

The Lakefront Trail is a short ride away from the race venue located east of Lakeshore Drive. The Lakefront Trail is an 18.5- mile linear path along Lake Michigan. The trail serves as both a recreational and transportation resource and can be crowded on warm days. It is recommended to ride south on the trail to avoid heavy pedestrian congestion areas.

As a safer alternative to riding on the crowded Chicago lakefront trail, a CompuTrainer Indoor Cycling Studio is available at FFC Lincoln Park — Chicago’s only USA Triathlon Certified Performance Center. “Single Ride” guest passes are available online for $25 and options include riding a simulated version of the ITU Chicago bike course. Additional performance testing services (Vo2, lactate, etc.) are available at ffc.com/endurance.

Can you recommend a bike shop in town?
Element Multisport is the Official Bike Mechanic Service Partner and they have locations in Chicago, Oak Park and Glen Ellyn. Visit element.bike for more information.

Will there be race numbers?
Race numbers will be included in race packets.

Will there be bodymarking?
Yes. Bodymarking will take place before your event near transition. Please note that athletes are still required to wear race numbers during the bike and swim.
 

RULES AND EQUIPMENT


Do the events follow International Triathlon Union or USA Triathlon Competitive Rules?
All elite and World Championships event follow ITU rules. The Open Age-Group Sprint and Standard races follow USA Triathlon rules.

What is the minimum race age?
Athletes must be 15 and older.

Are there race briefing meetings?
Yes. You’ll find the full race briefing and team manager meeting schedule here. Open Age-Group Sprint and Standard race briefings are mandatory. All athlete briefings will be held at Butler Field at the Tri-Festival in the Briefing Tent.

Will wetsuits be allowed?
All elite and World Championships athletes will follow the International Triathlon Union’s rules. Elite, U23 and junior athletes can wear wetsuits as long as the water is below 68 F (20 C). Age-group World Championships athletes can wear wetsuits if the water is below 71.6 F (22 C). Open Age-Group athletes will follow USA Triathlon’s rules, where wetsuits are allowed at 78 F (25.5 C) or below. View the complete rules on triathlon.org/about/downloads/category/rules or usatriathlon.org/rulebook for more details.

Do I have to wear a bike helmet? Any specifications?
Yes, helmets are required. All elite and World Championships event follow ITU rules. The Open Age-Group Sprint and Standard races follow USA Triathlon rules.

Can I do the race with a friend or family member, even though he or she is not in my age group?
The race start is a wave start; the waves are separated by age group. You are required to begin the race within the swim wave assigned to your age group. Starting the race in a different wave than what you have been assigned to results in disqualification.

Do I need to count my laps?
Yes, all athletes are responsible for knowing the course and covering the prescribed course in its entirety. Take a look at the course maps and read through the descriptions to prepare for race day. Pay close attention to multiple laps. If you have any questions about the course, please bring those up at the Athlete Information Tent at the Tri-Festival.

SWIM


What type of swim start will there be?
Elite athletes will have a diving start from the swim pontoon located at Queens Landing. Age-group athletes will have an in-water start.

What is the expected water temperature?
Water temperature is expected to be between 60-65 F (16-18 C).

Will the lake be warm enough? What happens if it’s too cold?
It's important to be prepared for any race conditions you may face. This article outlines eight tips to handle swimming in cold water, and may be a good resource for you as we approach race day. We strongly recommend packing a wetsuit. If you need a wetsuit for the race, Urban TriGear will be providing wetsuit sales and rentals for TYR Sport at the event. They will be on-site or you can contact them before to secure your wetsuit at one of their two retail locations in Westmont, Illinois: 804 East Ogden Ave., 630-230-9386 and 842 East Ogden Ave, 630-468-2992.

Will there be an opportunity to swim the course before the race?
Find the course familiarization schedule here.

Is there a swim warm-up prior to the race?
World Championships athletes will have a brief warm-up with their wave prior to race start.

Can you recommend a good location to practice open water swimming prior to the event?
The swim course is located in an active boat harbor, and athletes are prohibited from swimming in the harbor prior to race day. All athletes are encouraged to swim at Ohio Street Beach located at Ohio Street and Lake Shore Drive — one mile north of Monroe Harbor. Athletes must stay inside the marker buoys as boats will be active. Distance swimming is recommended by swimming parallel to the shoreline. There will be no lifeguards present. Athletes are advised to swim at their own risk.

For additional swim options, Fitness Formula Clubs (FFC) has five locations in the city with multi-lane lap pools. See ffc. com/club-locations for a list of locations and hours. ITU athletes can access FFC health clubs and train on their own for a special rate of $25 for the entire week from Monday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 20. Please contact endurance@ffc.com to inquire about purchasing discounted passes.

What are the times of the wave starts?
Wave start times are available on each athlete page.

How are the swim waves determined?
Waves are broken down by age group with some of the larger age-groups broken into multiple waves. All waves have been carefully calculated by our event management team to ensure a safe race and manage the density of athletes on the course.

Are men and women in separate waves?
Yes.

Is there an exit ramp?
Yes. Volunteers will be at the exit ramp to assist athletes.

What’s the distance between swim exit and transition? Is it carpeted?
The distance from swim exit to transition is 360 meters for the World Championships, and 800 meters for the Open Age-Group Sprint race. For the World Championships, the full distance between swim exit and transition is carpeted. For the Open Age-Group Sprint Race, the second half of the run is not carpeted.

BIKE


When is bike check-in and checkout?
You can find the full transition check-in and checkout schedule here. Bike check-in will take place at transition. Please check your race’s course map to see where transition is located, as there are multiple transition areas throughout the venue.

All athletes will have their helmets, bike, uniform and race number checked by a technical official upon entering the transition area. We therefore ask all competitors to be wearing their helmets and have their race number clearly showing as they enter the transition area. All helmets and bikes must be stickered up with their correct numbered stickers included in the race package during registration. On race day, World Championships athletes will be granted brief access to the transition area to drop off any gear they might need.

How will the course be marked?
The first and last kilometer will be marked with signs. Laps and turns will be marked.

What type of terrain is the bike course? Is it flat or hilly?
The course is on city roads with very minimal elevation change outside of the two ramps athletes have to traverse.

RUN & FINISH


How will the course be marked?
The first and last kilometer will be marked with signs. Laps and turns will be marked.

Is there a time limit to finish? Cutoff times?
Please see the event schedule for cutoff times.

Where is the finish line located?
The finish line is located in Grant Park around Buckingham Fountain.

TRANSITION


Where is transition located?
For the Aquathlon, Open Paratriathlon and Sprint and Standard Triathlon World Championships, transition is located in Arvey Field in Grant Park. It is about 360 meters from the swim exit to T1 and is carpeted the full distance.

For the Open Age-Group Sprint and Standard races, transition is located in Grant Park in the Upper Hutchinson Field, bordered by E. Balbo Ave. and S. Columbus Dr. It is about 800 meters from the swim exit.

Elite and junior transition is located near Buckingham Fountain.

T1 for elite paratriathlon and U23 athletes is near the swim exit and T2 is near Buckingham Fountain.

See course maps here for specific transition locations.

When am I allowed to set up transition?
Athletes must set up transition during their assigned check-in time. The main check-in schedule is available here. If you’re racing in the Age Group World Championships, you must check in during your age group’s assigned check-in time, which is available on the wave schedules.

On race day, World Championships athletes will be granted brief access to the transition area to drop off any gear that they might need.

What do I need to bring to transition check-in?
All athletes must bring their helmet, bike, uniform and race number as they will be checked by technical officials upon entering the transition area. We therefore ask all competitors to be wearing their helmets and have their race number clearly showing as they enter transition. You must pick up your packet before check-in in order to receive your race numbers.

Will athletes be able to take their bikes out of transition are to warm up on race morning?
Athletes will not be permitted to remove their bikes from transition to warm up.

How should bikes be racked?
Bike racks will be numbered and athletes should rack on their number by saddle.

Can I leave a bag in transition?
Athletes cannot leave baggage in transition. Any non-competitive gear left in transition can be removed by a technical.

Will there be bike pumps or mechanic support near transition?
Official race mechanics will be in the transition area to help with basic bike needs on race day.

When does transition open back up to collect bikes after the race?
The checkout schedule is available here. Please note that times are estimated as actual checkout times will be based on when the last athlete leaves transition for the run course. Sprint and Standard World Championships athletes must follow their assigned checkout times by age group, available on the wave start schedule.

NUTRITION & AID STATIONS


How many aid stations are on the courses?
There will be two aid stations on the run course for age-group races. Aid station 1 is located near the south turnaround of the run course. Aid station 2 is located near the north turnaround of the run course south of the Jackson Drive/Columbus Drive intersection.

What will be served at the aid stations?
An assortment of BOOM energy gels will be available at one aid station. Water and Gatorade will be available at both aid stations.

SPECTATORS AND FANS


Will the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final be broadcast live?
Universal Sports Network will air exclusive U.S. national television and online coverage of the elite Grand Final races. Live broadcast times will be confirmed on chicago.triathlon.org within one week of the race for viewers to watch on air and online at universalsports.com as authenticated users. Following the live telecasts, Universal Sports will air encore presentations of both races, with times and dates to be released closer to the event.

Universal Sports Network is the exclusive, national home to the ITU World Triathlon Series including the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final Chicago. Universal Sports is available on Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Verizon FiOS, satellite providers DIRECTV and DISH, and numerous regional cable and IPTV operators in markets across the country. To find Universal Sports in your channel lineup, please visit universalsports.com.

ITU will also be broadcasting the races live on triathlonlive.tv. No matter where you are in the world, if you have an Internet connection, you can watch the men’s and women’s elite races LIVE! Both events will be broadcast in real time, as well as available on demand shortly after the race finish, on triathlonlive.tv. It works great on your laptop, tablet and mobile. Don’t delay. Get your pass today.

A live finish cam will also be available at triathlon.org/live for all age group, junior, under-23, and paratriathlon world championship races.

Where are the best places for spectators to watch the race?
Please view the Spectator Guide on page 38 of the Athlete Guide.

Is there a charge to watch the elite men’s and women’s races?
You can watch the elite men’s and women’s races free from the course. To watch the finish from the grandstands, you must purchase tickets, which cost $25. Grandstand tickets will secure you the best seats in the house at the finish line near Buckingham Fountain.

What type of spectator amenities will be available?
The venue is located within close proximity to a vast array of hotels, cafes, restaurants, bars, public transportation and sightseeing experiences. The Tri-Festival is located in Butler Field in Chicago’s Grant Park—just steps away from the heart of the action at Buckingham Fountain—the Tri-Festival Expo will offer samples, showcase the latest sports apparel, health and nutritional information and much more.

View the venue map here, and the Tri-Festival lineup here.

How can I follow the race online?
Visit chicago.triathlon.org for recaps, galleries and more. Watch the elite races live on TriathlonLive.tv or tune in to Universal Sports Network. Connect with WTS Chicago on Facebook (WorldTriathlonChicago), Twitter (@wts_chicago) and Instagram (@wtschicago). Follow, share and be a part of the conversation with the hashtag #WTSChicago. View more ways to follow the event here.

TRI-FESTIVAL, EXPO, OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES


What is the Tri-Festival and Expo?
The Tri-Festival is a four-day festival held during the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago. The Tri-Festival will feature on-site Chicago restaurants, a beer garden with local craft brews, an abundance of spectator-friendly entertainment and event programming and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Plus, over 50 vendors highlighting the latest in the endurance sport, health and fitness industries. View performing bands, expo vendors, local restaurants and food vendors and more here.

Where will the Tri-Festival and Expo be?
It will be conveniently located at Butler Field in Chicago's Grant Park, just steps away from the heart of the action at Buckingham Fountain.

Will packet pick-up be at the Tri-Festival and Expo?
Yes. View venue map here to see location.

What is the Opening Ceremony?
On Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. CT, cheer for all your fellow competitors and celebrate the start of ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago at the Opening Ceremony, featuring live entertainment from a Blues Brothers cover band. Athletes from around the world will parade around the iconic Buckingham Fountain in the center of Grant Park. The ceremony is open and free for everyone. The Opening Ceremony is located at the Tri-Festival.

What is the Closing Ceremony?
The Closing Ceremony will feature a special program, award ceremony and a Bruce Springsteen cover band. The Closing Ceremony will take place at the Tri-Festival and Expo following the Grand Final Elite Men’s race at 8 p.m. CT.

Do you have to purchase a ticket for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies?
No. The events are free and open to anyone. Please arrive early as seating will be limited.

AFTER THE RACE


When and where will the results be posted?
Results will be posted on chicago.triathlon.org when finalized.

Where are the award ceremonies?
Award ceremonies will take place at Butler Field. Please see the athlete guide for more details.

Where can I purchase photos from the race?
Photos will be available through the official event photographer, marathon-photos.com. Click your race day below to sign up for alerts or access your photos.

Will there be sports massage available?
Illinois Bone & Joint Institute will be providing sports massage. View full details and sign up here.

EVENT IMPACT & ROAD CLOSURES


How will the event affect traffic?
The 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships will cause road closures leading up to and throughout event week. Find road closure information for each day here.

If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please stop by the Athlete Information Tent in the Tri-Festival, and our staff will be happy to answer your questions.

Find more information in the Athlete Guide.