90-Miler finishes in Saranac Lake

C4 Winners Michael Fries, Terry Kent, Paul Olney and JoAnn Olney paddle towards the finish line on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake on Sunday. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

SARANAC LAKE — The Adirondack Canoe Classic, which is also referred to as the 90-Miler, capped off at the Riverfront Park on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake on Sunday.

After starting the journey at the Old Forge Beach on Friday, the first boat came in around 12 p.m. on Sunday to the Riverfront park finish line. The boat was a c-4 unlimited boat that held Michael Fries, Terry Kent, Paul Olney and JoAnn Olney.

“When you are in first place it’s always great,” Paul Olney joked after completing the race.

Paul completed the race with his daughter JoAnn. They both agreed that the hardest part about the entire race was running and the uphill portages.

For JoAnn, it was her seventh 90-Miler race, and she and her father were proud of the outcome.

As more people came in, it marked the end of the 90-mile race, which had not been held in two years. The account manager for Northwest River Supplies, Danny Mongno, who helped put on the event, said the racers were stoked to be back after not having the race last year.

In that time period, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail took over running the race. Prior to the NFCT taking over the race, the Adirondack Watershed Alliance originally ran it. Brian and Grace McDonnell helped run the event for years.

“The racers sort of feel like this is a new era,” Mongno said. “Although we are proud of everything Grace and Brian have done in the past, this is going to be a great next step for us.”

NFCT Executive Director Karrie Thomas said there has been a lot of changes to the event. She said there has been a lot of feedback for the online registration process and wave order has changed, which helped eliminate bunching on the carries.

“We have been hearing such a great response from the paddlers because we are a non-profit. We are a paddling non-profit and people are excited that the future in 90 (miler) is in good hands,” Thomas said. “Nobody wants to see Brian go but he is gonna be a friend forever. It’s a family here, and our job is to take over the care in feeding this family. I think if we come at it from the perspective of knowing it’s an event, it’s a race, but it’s a family above all, so far, people are excited about that idea.”

For many of the people involved, they are hopeful of the change in ownership.

“What it really means is that it is going to keep going,” Thomas said. “I don’t plan on going anywhere, but if I get hit by a truck, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail will be there to keep it going on.

“It means the future of the event. Brian is not gonna last forever. He is ready to retire and go back to racing. He is tired. He is ready to roll onto something different,” she said. “Eventually, he would have to stop hosting this event.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today