Runners hit the streets of LP
LAKE PLACID — A veteran and a rookie took the full-distance titles Sunday in the 13th annual Lake Placid Marathon on a day that started under the cover of clouds and turned into a scorcher as the afternoon approached.
The race saw 170 runners cross the finish line at the 26.2-mile distance, with the vast majority of the field, 709, completing the half-marathon.
Anthony Uzwiak, a 58-year-old from Killingworth, Connecticut, won the men’s overall marathon championship in 3 hours, 7 minutes and 23 seconds, and Maddie Dery of Mahopac took the women’s overall title in her first attempt at running a complete marathon.
Uzwiak finished more than five minutes ahead of runner-up Pierre-Oliver Jacques, who hails from Grand-Mere, Quebec. Uzwiak crossed the line in 3:13:02.
Uzwiak said he was a competitive runner during his 30s, and returned to distance racing in his 50s after his children grew up.
“When I was younger, I was averaging about four marathons a year,” Uzwiak said. “I didn’t start running competitively again until I was in my 50s. Now that my son and my daughter are old enough to kind of be autonomous and there are not so many demands on time, you have more time to focus on your own interests.
“At 50 I started wondering what capacities I’ve retained at this age,” he continued. “I quickly found out that I was old. This was just for fun. I like coming up here.”
Uzwiak placed fifth in the race with a 3:04:33 finish when he last competed in Lake Placid two years ago.
“A buddy of mine who I train with, we thought under normal weather conditions we could run a sub-three hour marathon, which we’ve done pretty frequently,” Uzwiak said. “But by mile 12 it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to turn three hours. When the sun came out at mile 12, the next five miles were in the hot sun, and that took it out of me.
“Two years ago, a very elite marathoner came here and ran under a 2:40, which is reasonable for me on a flat course, but not here,” Uzwiak added. “If it was 52 degrees and a drizzle, like we were running in London, that would have been easier. Today, I had the luxury of being ahead. I started to count the miles at 21, and at that point, it was all about just getting to the finish line and don’t get hurt.”
Lake Placid’s Mike Skutt, a 42-year-old, was the third finisher overall, completing his marathon trek in 3:15:10.
The 21-year-old Dery was ecstatic with her overall women’s victory in the full marathon, especially since she’s never run at that distance and just signed up for the race on Wednesday. A recent graduate of RPI where she competed on the Engineers’ track and cross country teams, Dery finished in 3:15:22, which landed her in fourth place overall and also earned her a spot in the Boston Marathon.
Dery said she decided to enter the race because it was a Boston Marathon qualifier for the first time.
“Until today, I think the longest I’ve ever run was 15-and-a-half miles,” Dery said. “I just finished my season two weeks ago. Even though I’ve never run a marathon, I figured this was the best training I’ve had in my life. I was training for 3K and 5K distances, but I knew I had a good enough base to finish the marathon. My ideal goal was to get the Boston qualifier because I’m moving there at the end of the summer. I did it. I needed a 3:35 and I had 3:15 on my watch.”
Dery had been in Lake Placid for a few days prior to the race and was with her mother, who is preparing for September’s half-Ironman race that will be held here for the first time.
“My mom was coming here to train for the half-Ironman triathlon so we’re here with a triathlon training group,” Dery said. “Two weeks ago I found out that they had a marathon here and I really wanted to do it, but I was kind of afraid. Finally on Wednesday this past week, I said ‘You know what, I’m going to do it’ so I just signed up. I was coming anyway but I actually decided to register.
“I felt really good until 18, 19 miles, but I still knew I could definitely do it. At 20 miles, time started going by slower. Right around mile 24, I got a horrible cramp, but at that point, there were only two miles left. I just kind of sucked it up, dumped water on my face and pushed through. Once I got to this oval, I was so happy because I saw the finish. I still can’t believe it. It’s awesome. This is really a great day.”
Leah Lamonica of Montvale, New Jersey, was the next woman to reach the marathon finish in 3:27:08, and Jenny Hoffman of Cambridge, Massachusetts was third with a 3:42:47.
Competing in his first marathon, Lake Placid High School senior Stuart Baird turned in an impressive overall finish of 19th place. After running the day before in the state high school championship meet near Binghamton, Baird returned home to finish the race in 3:40:44. He started the race with his older brother Andrew, who ultimately cut his run in half and completed just the half-marathon distance.
“Obviously, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Stuart Baird said. “The hills, on top of the heat, were just a killer, but I tried to stay confident. I would have liked to have run all the way with my brother, but I think he had a stomach bug, and you just can’t predict that. I’m just happy to run a race with him. I’m glad I finished it.”
Joseph Norton and Lesley Paterson took the men’s and women’s half-marathon titles. Norton, a 32-year-old from New Jersey, finished in 1:18:29, which was a little more than two minutes faster than runner-up Dylan Cohen, who also hails from the Garden State.
“I’m training for the Chicago Marathon, so I wanted to get a good rhythm in — a good marathon pace workout,” Norton said. “I had one tough kid with me for the first mile, mile and a half, but I held rhythm and found myself on my own.”
Norton was one of the many runners who were drawn to Lake Placid to tackle the race.
“It’s just a gorgeous area,” Norton said. “I’ve been to the Adirondacks many times, but I haven’t been to Lake Placid since I was very small, and I don’t even remember that. Me and my college roommate many years ago — we decided to to a little road trip, and Lake Placid certainly didn’t disappoint.”
As a fast half-marathoner, Norton was fortunate enough to finish the race before the day turned hot.
“It was a little windy, and that was actually a blessing because it was a little warm for the race,” he said. “For the troopers out there doing 4-, 5-, 6-hour marathons, they’re going to need all the support they can get. It’s going to get a little warm out there.”
Two young runner grabbed third and fourth place for the men overall. Saranac Lake’s Bryce Hartman, who races on the University of New Hampshire’s nordic team, finished third in 1:23:38, and 16-year-old Max Hoffman of Clifton Park was fourth in 1:24:19.
On Sunday, nobody was going to catch Scotland native Lesley Paterson, who came in nearly nine minutes ahead of her next closest competition to claim the women’s half-marathon win. The 36-year-old, who now lives in San Diego, just happened to be in Lake Placid for the first time with her husband to promote their book “The Brave Athlete” and decided to enter the race.
Normally an off-road triathlete and the 2011 and 2012 Xterra world champion, Paterson crossed the line in 1:23:26, which was good enough for third place overall in the entire 13.1-mile field.
“We’ve been on a book tour and were here for a training camp with a big tri team,” Paterson said. “I definitely like the trail running better but it was really fun to get out here and run. I’ve had a lot of injuries and the goal was to run without pain — not the pain of running but the pain of injury. I felt pretty good.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous up here,” she added. “I love it. I’m definitely coming back. It’s a lot like Scotland but with nicer weather.”
Paterson’s next closest rival was Lake Placid’s own Elizabeth Izzo, who entered the race after winning the women’s title in 2015. On Sunday, Izzo finished runner-up in 1:32:18, which also put her in 11th place overall.
“She’s a real Speedy Gonzalez,” Izzo said describing Paterson. “I always go in with the mindset of doing my best, and if I can chase down everybody, that’s great, but I said ‘Oh boy, she’s going for it.’ I knew right at the start, there was no catching her. She was immediately running at least 30 seconds faster per mile.
“It was a fun race, and I’ll do the Tinman in a couple weeks,” Izzo added. “It went great. My pace was OK, I didn’t bonk, and I ate some maple syrup. It’s my favorite food.”
Stephanie Lajoie of Mirabel, Quebec, rounded out the women’s top three, finishing in 1:33:09.