Rahm Emanuel Races Chicago Triathlon 2015: Results Analysis and Photos

By Raymond Britt

Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of the City of Chicago, tore through the 2015 Chicago Triathlon Sprint Distance race with fierce, unyielding intensity that's long characterized his political career.

The Mayor's third Chicago Triathlon in five years (2011, 2012, 2015), turned out to be his best.

This article presents analysis, comparing his three races: performance overall, and by swim, bike, run and finish results and rankings. In addition, see his intensity in my photographs of his 2015 race.

Click to see photos of the Mayor's Chicago Triathlon Journey; Images by Raymond Britt

And he delivered exceptional results, ranking among the top 22 percent of athletes in his age group. even more impressive, he's improved with age; his adjusted 2015 results* (official time 1:39:59, but estimated at 1:31:09 if bike course was the traditional distance) convincingly exceeded his times his last two Chicago Triathlons, in 2011 (1:36:50) and 2012 (1:33:09).

(* the bike course was extended to an unusual distance 24.5k in 2015, compared to the standard distance in a Sprint Triathlon. We adjusted his bike time to a 20k equivalent for a fair with 2011 and 2012).

A main factor leading to the faster performance was a bike split of 18.68mph, a decided improvement over the 17+ mph pace he rode in 2011, and 2012.

But the real story in 2015 was consistency throughout the race. A naturally good swimmer, his swim time ranked him in the top 14% of his age group. In 2012, he seems to have used up too much energy on the swim (top 10 percentile rank), and may have suffered on the bike as a result (45% percentile). 

In 2015 energy conserved on the swim may have helped drive his top 23% bike rank). And he ran a brisk 10k in 28+ minutes, ranking him in the top 32nd percentile.