LAKE PLACID - After 10 years, it's safe to say that Jeff Edwards and Brad Konkler have successfully established a tradition in Lake Placid.
On Sunday, the race that they founded will celebrate its 10th anniversary as the Olympic Village again hosts the annual Lake Placid Marathon. Beginning with a mass start at 8 a.m., nearly 2,000 runners will hit the pavement on Main Street to take on both half- and full-marathon distances.
When Edwards and Konkler - the marathon's co-directors - first started the race, they had high hopes of bringing an event to Lake Placid that would have both longevity and add to the area's reputation as a destination for endurance sports. With the Lake Placid Marathon drawing nearly 2,000 runners annually, it appears that the pair have accomplished their mission.
Runners pack Main Street in Lake Placid shortly after the start of the 2011 Lake Placid Marathon.
(Enterprise file photo — Lou Reuter)
"It's been 10 years; that's hard to believe," Konkler said. "We were just testing the waters the first few years, and from the first year on, the race has gained traction."
"I'd like to say that we're in it for the long haul," Edwards added. "Our goal was to bring people to Lake Placid, and as it turns out, this race kicks off the summer season here. We were never trying to turn this into a giant race. It's more of a family-fun type of event."
On Wednesday, Konkler, who travels here each June from his home in Michigan, said that more than 1,600 have pre-registered for Sunday's race, and that number is expected to rise. He added that over the years, the Lake Placid Marathon has drawn runners from around the world and more than 40 states from across the country. Nations represented in the field include Canada, Iceland, China, Singapore, Honduras, Brazil and Mexico.
The event also has a large number of North Country runners, as well as triathletes who use the race to train for July's Ironman Lake Placid race. Edwards said as many as 200 athletes who will be competing in that Ironman could be descending on Lake Placid this weekend for the marathon, and most will run the event's 13.1-mile distance.
"It will be a (Ironman) training weekend for a lot of people," Edwards said. "They'll do the bike course on Saturday and then run on Sunday. There's a team from the Syracuse area coming up here just for that reason."
Traditionally, about two-thirds of the field will compete in the half marathon. Last year's men's winner in the half-marathon was Nick Marcantonio of Glens Falls, who finished in 1 hour, 9 minutes and 39 seconds. Brooklyn's Miriam Beyer won the women's overall half-marathon title in 1:26:40.
Stephen Trull of Burlington, Vermont won the men's 2013 marathon in 2:44:28, and Heather Wolfe of Anchorage, Alaska took the women's title in 3:27:59.
Edwards said approximately 300 volunteers will be on hand to assist with the race, which includes manning more than 20 aid stations along the course. Konkler added that a field of about 2,000 competitors has turned out to be an ideal number of participants annually.
"Our sweet spot is just under 2,000," Konkler said. "One of the biggest parts of this race that we feel good about is the economic impact on this community. This race is the event that kicks off the season."