St. Louis Woman to be 1st Hijabi Competitor in Chicago Triathlon

August 24, 2018 - 10:39 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A St. Louis mom of three will be one of the first hijabi athletes to compete in the Chicago Triathlon on Sunday.

Jeri Villarreal converted to Islam when she was 17.  She has worn a hijab ever since. 

Three years ago, Villarreal made a personal vow not to say 'no' to challenges, so when a friend challenged her to compete in triathlons, she didn't refuse. Little did she know she'd be making history on Sunday.

“According to the Chicago Triathlon, I am the first or one of the first hijabis to do the Chicago triathlon,” Villarreal says.

She had to get a religious exemption to be covered from the elbows to her wrists and the knees down - something that's against triathlon rules.

The main question she's asked -- doesn’t it get hot? 

“Usually I’m hot if they’re hot, and not if they’re not,” she says.

Villarreal's husband and two children will be in Chicago to support her.