This is a low key, un-timed sporting event for women, a fun outdoor morning of enjoyable exercise with no pressure to push oneself unless you desire to. It is staged at Independence Grove, the crown-jewel of the 30,000 acre Lake County (Illinois) Forest Preserve District. The participants kayak 1.5 miles, hike/run 3.1 miles, and bike 13 miles, and a potluck lunch follows the competition for those so inclined. The annual event is open to 150 women who are divided into three groups of 50. Each group begins with a different activity and then cycles into the other two events, making it reminiscent of an exciting three ring circus spectacle, with plenty of action for spectators to observe and enjoy.
Unlike other triathlons I've observed, this one displayed a unique dynamic since no clock was running -- all the women encouraged one another, smiled and laughed often, and as I biked from location to location to capture video and stills, nearly every participant smiled and waved and said "Hi!" to me as I passed them (and none knew I was documenting their race.) And the camaraderie at the staging area/finish area was a delight to behold as ladies made new friends and reunited with old friends.
Here is a brief video of the events. The movie also showcases the scenic beauty of Independence Grove and you'll hear the ubiquitous birdsong in the video footage, regardless of which of the dozen-plus locations I was at to capture the activity.
This event is sponsored by Trailbound Trips, a women's outdoor adventure company. I especially appreciate the Mark Twain quote on this website: "Twenty years from now, you will be disappointed more by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover."