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This weekend, some of central New York's best athletes will come together to compete in the 42nd annual Myles Keogh Paddle Wheel and Run, otherwise known as the Great Race, at Emerson Park in Owasco.

The event is a three-part triathlon, with two courses offered, that includes running, cycling and canoeing.

The race, Auburn's prominent marathon event, begins Sunday, Aug. 11 at 9:30 a.m.

"Every year as it gets closer you get excited," said Great Race committee member Jim Hanley. "You prepare all year for it, and hope everything goes right and everyone has fun."

Here's more information to know about the Great Race:

THE COURSE

Both the long and short courses begin at Emerson Park on East Lake Road, starting with the running portion. Continuing on Owasco Road, long course runners make their way up to Genesee Street before doubling back and meeting back at Emerson Park where the race began. It's a 6.2-mile run.

For the 5K shorter run, runners also begin at Emerson Park, but only make it as far as First Avenue before retreating back to Owasco Road. The 5K is three miles.

Cyclists for the traditional course pick up the baton at Emerson Park and travel as far south as Harter Road in Niles before returning north. It's a 19.5-mile journey in total. Short course cycles travel down Route 38 until Martin Road, a total of about 10.5 miles.

After returning to Emerson Park, cyclists will meet their canoeists at the beach on the north side of Owasco Lake. Long course canoeists head two miles south on the lake (for a total distance of four miles), while short course participants head a mile out in Owasco Lake before turning around (total of two miles).

RACING CATEGORIES

There are various different entry categories: male and female of various ages, couples (two persons of each gender), a corporate challenge (four full-time employees from the same company), family (siblings with at least one parent or grandparent), and three different kayak divisions (male, female, mixed). There's also a new kayak family division and a stand-up paddleboard division.

There's also the Dave Schardt Memorial Fun Run, a one-mile run for kids which each finisher receives a ribbon.

"I like to see the young kids being active," Hanley said. "It's a good event from an athletic standpoint. A win-win for all involved."

A YEAR AGO

Taking home first place in the 2018 Great Race was team Running for Coach Jill (runner Alex Hogue, cyclist Mariano Garcia, and canoeists Ed Wagner and John Potter), finishing the traditional course in 1:58:17. The runner-up was A Need For Speed! (Abshir Yerow, Johnathan Suita, Scott Sherwood and Andy Melinchanko) in 1:50:00, while Build Pay Sports (Chartt Miller, Ross Wightman, Melissa Swislossky and Bruce Codington) came in third with a time of 2:03:12.

Winning the 10K run was Miller, who completed his split in 32:35. Suita had the top time in the long bike at 46:12 and Greg Lesher was the fastest in the canoe at 32:55.

In the short course, Dash Crash and Splash (Richard Rainone, Lucho Rodriguez and Vincent Dappolonia) came in first, completing the abbreviated race in 1:07:40. Jake Mcandrew had the top split in the 5K at 16:04. Dan Kwasnowski topped all cyclists in the short bike course (26:18), and the best individual canoe time was from Peter Gugel (20:35).

SCHOLARSHIP AWARD

Catie Kopp, a 2019 graduate of Southern Cayuga High School, is this year's recipient of the Frank Ruggiero Scholarship, awarded annually to a college-bound student who has participated or volunteered at the Great Race.

The award is for $1,000.

At Southern Cayuga, Kopp was class valedictorian, National Honor Society president, class president and student council president.

Kopp was also a standout athlete at Southern Cayuga, participating in basketball, soccer, golf and tennis. She was named The Citizen's Girls Basketball Player of the Year as both a junior and senior. She was also a member of jazz band.

In the fall, Kopp will attend Cornell University.

"She was the total package," Hanley said. "Her community service stuck out, her academics, and it seems like she really gives back. We received a handful of applicants and she rose to the top."

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Sports reporter Justin Ritzel can be reached at 282-2257 or at justin.ritzel@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenRitz.

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