LAKE GEORGE Last Sunday, most of us may have slept in and enjoyed a leisurely day. But over 450 people got up, put on bathing gear, walked out into 45 degree weather and plunged into Lake George.
It was beautiful, said Lake George Triathlon organizer Randy Rath. As the sun came up, the fog around the buoys dissipated. You couldnt ask for a better day.
It was the second annual triathlon and swimmers took off in waves at Million Dollar Beach starting at 7:30 a.m. to swim one mile, run across the road, jump on a bike and ride a 24.8 mile loop, then run another 6.2 miles. Athletes were mostly from New York, but the list included a few from Arizona, California, Kentucky and California.
Warren County Judge John Hall was one of the triathletes to take part in the competition.
It was really something, as I was swimming, I lifted my head out of the water to breathe, and the fog had started to life and I could see the top of Prospect Mountain, Hall said.
Halls first triathlon was about 20 years ago in Burlington, Vt. He had started running at the urging of his secretary.
She was a health fanatic, Hall said. He practiced swimming in Echo Lake.
The waves in Lake Champlain were much bigger and I just about drowned, he said. He has been competing in various triathlons ever since.
Rath organized the first triathlon last year as a way to organize other area triathletes. The Adirondack Triathlon Club now has over 50 members, and Rath said they enjoy their sport.
Its a great way to socialize and you always have someone to ride or run with, he sid. Everyone thinks triathletes are weird anyway, so we stick together.
After working out some complaints from last years event when some local businesses were upset about road closures during the race, Rath said he plans to make the triathlon an annual event.
Last year, we gave $5,000 to the YMCA Youth Scholarship program, Rath said. This year were hoping to do that again and give a donation to the Lake George Youth Commission.
Triathletes were impressed with the course and the organization of the race. Leslie Meyers of Burlington, Vt. was the first woman to cross the finish line.
This is my first time in this race and the course is really awesome, she said. She said all triathlon courses are difficult, and she changes the race in her mind to swim, bike, socialize because she chats with her fellow runners during the final leg of the race.
I meet some really nice people and it helps me get through it, she said.
Rath said the race wouldnt be possible without volunteers.
We have over 100, and were holding a special raffle with some pretty neat prizes for them, he said.
The first person over the finish line was Patrick OKeeffe of Queensbury, followed by his coach, Kevin Crossman of South Glens Falls and in third place was Michael Wynn of Queensbury.
Coming in 12th overall was Andrew Shore of Hoboken, N.J., who ran the race for his second time.
I really like the course, its very challenging, Shore said. Its more hilly than anywhere that I normally ride. Ill definitely come back. Shore and his family arranged a five-day vacation around the race.
The race is the icing on the cake, he said. Shore is a regular triathlete and is sponsored by Aquaphor healing ointment.
I slathered that on this morning and it made it a lot easier to get out of my wet suit after the swim, he said.
Coming in right behind Shore in 13th place was Steve Byers, who works on Wall Street and lives in New York City. His parents own a home in Bolton and he came up to stay there for the race.
The course is good, but more difficult than I thought, Byers said. The running course was pretty easy. He said competing in triathlons is a major stress relief for him.
Hall said he came in 9th in his age group, which had 12 entrants.
That may not sound so great, but the way I look at it, there are about 10,000 people betwen 55 and 60 in the region and only 12 competed, Hall said. Even if I came in 12th, thats 12th out of 10,000 and thats pretty good.