3P race is a wintry mix
Coach edges relay team of his skiers to win
SARANAC LAKE — More than 100 people competed in the first-ever Saranac Lake 3P race on Sunday.
The event was a mix of an Alpine and Nordic ski race, snowshoe race, bike race, paddling race and foot race, all combined into one big competition. The three Ps in Saranac Lake 3P stand for “Pole, Pedal, Paddle.”
The event started and ended at Mount Pisgah, the village’s Alpine ski venue, where individuals or relay teams did an uphill climb on snowshoes, followed by a downhill ski. After reaching the bottom of the hill, competitors jumped onto their bikes and rode to Dewey Mountain, the local Nordic venue.
From there, the participants completed two cross-country ski laps before hopping back onto their bikes and riding to Beaver Park, on the Saranac River. There they jumped into a canoe or kayak and paddled downstream to the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club, where they disembarked and ran to the finish line back at Mount Pisgah.
Keith Kogut, the band teacher and Nordic ski coach at Saranac Lake High School, was the first racer to cross the finish line. Kogut edged out a relay team of his varsity Nordic skiers: Jasper Weich, Morgan Martin, Aiden Hesseltine and Jordanna Samburgh.
“I had four of my ski team members behind me, but I think we were all out here for fun,” Kogut said.
Kogut was the first competitor to complete the downhill skiing portion of the race and held onto the lead until he got to Dewey. On the cross-country ski course, Hesseltine moved ahead of his coach on the first lap.
“The transitions were tough because they got to just tag each other, while we had to change boots and shoes and everything,” Kogut said.
The Saranac Lake student-athletes remained in front of Kogut until he passed them on the paddling portion of the race.
“I had a feeling on the river that I would get them,” he said.
Kogut, who has competed in multiple different races in the area, said it was a fun race to compete in and he really likes how it appeals to the local crowd.
“The lifestyle up here prepares you for this race,” he said. “We run, bike, paddle and ski, so it hits all of the targets.”
Nina Armstrong of Lake Placid was the top women’s competitor, finishing in third place overall. She said the race was well organized and she was glad she competed.
“All of the courses were well-marked,” Armstrong said. “The volunteers and race organizers were all so enthusiastic and just having a great time, which made us have a great time. All of the transitions went so smoothly. It was a great day.”
Armstrong, who competed in Nordic skiing at Harvard University and at Lake Placid High School, made up most of her ground at Dewey on the cross-country course. She said that she was a little bit scared during the paddling portion of the race.
“But they had three people in the water to help us through it, so that was very helpful and a confidence booster,” she said. “I’m not really a paddler, so I was just trying to get down that section.”
The 3P was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, but due to the weather, the race was postponed until Sunday. According to race co-organizer Scott McKim, around 18 participants didn’t make it with the schedule change.
“We deferred all of the entries to next year,” he said. “It might’ve been a good thing in hindsight to not have too many people in our first year because there were a lot of question marks because we’ve never done this before.”
Despite a few minor hiccups in its inaugural year, McKim says the event exceeded all of his and the other organizers’ expectations. He added that he hopes this is the first of many years to come for the Saranac Lake 3P.
“We had a race plan, and we kind of executed it,” McKim said. “The village showed up, and it’s been nothing but fun all day. It was a great response from racers. Our small army of volunteers … it’s been great.”
According to the race organizers, more than 50 people volunteered to help out with the event. McKim said that he had nothing but thanks and gratitude for the volunteers and local and state police for quickly pivoting with the change in date.
“I think what we’ve seen is a community that loves this event,” McKim said. “Our big question (for next year) is, ‘How do we scale up?’ But maybe not too quickly. Like, the biggest limiting factor might be parking, and that’s an amazing problem to have to work through.”
By the #s
Vital statistics for the first Saranac Lake 3P:
200 beer tokens