OWASCO — Forty years of tradition have brought competitors to the shores of Owasco Lake to compete in the one of the largest running, biking and paddling triathlons there is.
Some come for the competition, while others show up to enjoy the atmosphere.
And in the 40th annual Myles Keogh Paddle Wheel & Run Great Race, that atmosphere proved fruitful.
“This is a celebration of our sports combined,” Liverpool native Scott Sherwood said. “We come here and have a lot of camaraderie, listen to music, drink some beers and it’s a lot of patting on backs of friends you raced against. It’s just all a good time.”
Sherwood was part of the winning team in the long course — 10 kilometers of running, 20 miles of biking and four miles paddling. “Rosie’s Boys,” also included Jason Harcum, Phil Millspaugh and Jonathan Siuta.
Each portion of the triathlon is divided into splits. Chad Maloy (31:56) was the first finisher in the 10km run, followed by Andrew Dionne (32:43), Tyler Eustance (32:58), Chip Ohara (33:20) and Andrew Foxenberg (34:01) to round out the top five.
“Going into it I felt good the first couple miles,” Maloy said. “I didn’t see the course until I ran it, so I kind of went in blind. I knew it was a little hilly and the downhill was on the way back. I felt good on the first half to work the downhill on the way back.”
In the biking portion was where Rosie’s Boys took over, thanks to what Sherwood referred to as “heavy lifting” by Siuta. Siuta wrapped up 20 miles on the bike in 45:16, and was followed by David Tate (48:51), Don Sproull (49:06), David Yacobello (49:40) and Andy Melnycenko (49:55). From there on, Sherwood and Millspaugh closed out the race with the fifth-best canoe split (38:58). Greg Lesher (33:41) led all paddlers in the long course, followed by Jim Mallory (34:29), Bruce Lee and Tom Yarosh (36:49), and Dylan Kirk and John Potter (38:26).
Millspaugh was a late addition to Rosie’s Boys, recollecting that Sherwood only required his involvement as recently as this past week, while Harcum connected online.
“Scott pulled us together,” Millspaugh said. “He was the center point and just pulled us all in. I got the phone call five days ago asking if I was available. It was one of those things where there was a good friend who needed a hand in filling up the team.”
Added Harcum, “I got an email through the Syracuse Track Club. We have some fantastic runners and had a few out here today. It’s good to keep them in eyesight.”
Zaveral Racing Equipment (Andrew Dionne, Andy Melnycenko, Bob Zaveral and Al Shaver Jr.), Route 17 Seniors (James Dechick, Bruce Rohdenburg, Bruce Lee, Tom Yarosh), Summerhill Brewing (Louis Ferrone, Don Sproull, Dylan Kirk, John Potter) and Baycreek Racing Team (Darren Schutt, Dennis Moriarty, Jim Mallory) were the top finishing teams in the long course behind Rosie’s Boys.
In the short course — a 5 km run, 10-mile bike ride and two miles of paddling — Prison City Muggers (Leon Atkins, Keith Pluckett, Skip Simmonds, Karen Simmonds-Brady) were the top finishers. 2 If By Land 1 If By Sea (Daniel Beardslee, Rob Sterling, Eric Van Leer), Marsh (Shaun Nagraj, Ed Bennett, Jordan Jennings, Dan Mahle), Gazella Training Fitness And (Matthew Fogerty, Linda Charles, Richard Weber) and Josh Theresa Then Gary (Josh Cuddy, Theresa Mason, Gary Mason) rounded out the short course’s best five teams.
Richard Powell was the first short-course run finisher (15:30), followed by Leon Atkins (16:49), Oliver Rapp (16:55), Andrew Wells (17:09) and Alphonse Mugisha (17:12). Mike Hahn (27:15), Steve Valentino (27:20), Ed Bennett (27:29), Tom Sproull (27:51) and Susan Andersson (27:53) recorded the best splits in the cycling portion. Eric Van Leer, Vincent D’appolonia, Gary Mason, Jeremy Fudo, and Tom Tillson with Tom Borrelli were the leading short-course canoers.
With it’s unique configuration, the Great Race brings together what Millspaugh referred to “the greatest athletes in the state” to show off the athletic talent. That was no different in its 40th year.
“The best runners, the best bikers and the best canoers … we put it all together to showcase what we can do,” Millspaugh said. “It’s nice to come out here and for us to know that we beat the best athletes in the state. Everyone loves to come out here year after year for 40 years strong, and it’ll probably keep going another 40.”
Sherwood had a unique viewpoint on what brings him back every year — competitive paddling isn’t what it used to be, but the Great Race provides an opportunity to promote the sport.
“Canoe triathlons are dying, so I’m really trying to promote the sport,” Sherwood said. “This race used to have almost 700 long-course canoes. Now we have around 100, so it’s a sport that needs to get bumped up again. That’s why we come out every year and try to promote it.”
The significance for Maloy, who joined up with his father Mike and two family friends, Rick Ferro and Fritz Sabad, was simpler: It was about the experience
“This is our first time so we’ve been kind of talking smack to each other to see who’s going to be the weak link,” Maloy said. “Just doing it with friends and family … we’ve got the family out so it’s a good time. We came and camped the night before, so it’s about being all together competing and being around each other.”