Tupper Triad to challenge trekkers Saturday

The Goodman Mountain trailhead is seen Thursday. Goodman is one of three Tupper Lake area mountains that are part of the Tupper Triad challenge Saturday that asks hikers to traverse Mount Arab, Goodman and Coney Mountain in one day. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

TUPPER LAKE — Nearly two years after the designation of the Tupper Lake Triad, the three peaks around this village will host their first one-day challenge race Oct. 21.

The race, presented by Big Tupper Brewing, will begin at 9 a.m. at the Mount Arab trailhead in the town of Piercefield. Runners will make the 1.1-mile hike up to the fire tower topping the mountain and reach the highest elevation of the race at 2,545 feet above sea level.

Summit stewards at the peaks will log times for runners as they move on to the 1.1-mile Coney Mountain and 1.7-mile Goodman Mountain.

A roughly 25-minute drive separates Mount Arab from Goodman and Coney, on the opposite side of Big Tupper Lake. Race director Ted Merrihew and his assistant, Jim LaValley, who also owns Big Tupper Brewing, said they warn runners that state driving laws still apply between the two hiking areas.

“State police know about the race; they will be on the road with radar,” LaValley said.

Each mountain is a short hike, adding up to 6.1 miles in total, meaning ascents will be hurried scrambles and descents will be frantic sprints.

Each mountain is estimated to take around an hour to complete, so awards and lunch at Big Tupper Brewing in the village will take place at 2 p.m.

Everyone finishing the race will receive a T-shirt, a pint and lunch as first-place winners for each age division are announced at the bar. Divisions will start with 19 and under, and move up in 10-year increments. The male and female champions of each division will win plaques for their first-place efforts.

Men and younger runners will have an easier time earning those awards as currently the majority of registered runners are in the 40-year division and 80 percent of all the runners are female.

Big Tupper Brewing will also unveil a plaque for the “tail winner,” who finishes the Triad last overall.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has capped the event at 50 participants and there were fewer then 20 spots open as of Thursday afternoon. Registration will continue even to the morning of the race, and organizers urge anyone interested to turn in paperwork Saturday morning to enjoy the hikes, the challenges and the off-trail camaraderie.

“You know what runners are like when they get together,” Merrihew said. “We do spend more time laughing. You get your run in, and then you’re just hanging out.”

Merrihew and LaValley said they organized the race because they both enjoy the Triad and have run challenges and races all around the country, including an 86-story climb up the Empire State Building and a relay from Emmaus, Pennsylvania, to Tupper Lake.

The Triad was first established by Tupper Laker Charlie Hoffer on Dec. 20, 2015. Since then, 488 hikers have accomplished the winter ascents, and 2,358 have completed them during the summer.