Nearly 400 runners take on Lake Placid Classic

Michael Bodnar, center, leads Matthew Beyerle and Reid Bush during the Lake Placid Classic on Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

LAKE PLACID — Over the past few years, Syd Steger, a Buffalo native who moved to Lake Placid just last week, has found her fair share of success at races in Lake Placid but she has never been in the top spot.

“I like to say that I have the Lake Placid third curse,” she said.

At the Lake Placid Classic on Saturday, the curse broke.

Steger, 25, fended off the rain to claim the women’s half marathon overall title at the 52nd annual event. Steger won the race in a time of 1 hour, 27 minutes, 34.39 seconds, which was also a personal record for her.

“My training was much better this year,” she said. “I spent a lot of time running and hiking in the rain this summer, of course because it was one of the rainiest summers ever. I felt great. I kept hitting great splits and I just kept rolling with it the rest of the day.”

Syd Steger competes in the Lake Placid Classic half marathon distance on Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

Steger edged out Alexis Stephens of Friendsville, Maryland, who placed second in 1:28:32.64. Lake Placid native Elizabeth Izzo finished third in 1:29:18.79.

From start to finish the Lake Placid Classic was dealt a downpour, but it didn’t stop the nearly 400 runners from turning out for the event.

“We were all soaked to start, but out on the course the conditions were just fine,” Steger said. “The roads were great and the traffic was maintained by law enforcement.

“There were great vibes out on the course and despite the weather people were still out there,” she added. “The volunteers were doing great, always giving me what I needed. But yeah, it was a great day.”

Brooklyn resident Matthew Beyerle won the men’s half marathon in 1:18:36.65. While Beyerle, 27, said his time wasn’t a personal record, he still had a great time out on the course, considering it was his first time in Lake Placid.

“I was really impressed with the way the race directors and the people that put it on came out in full force despite the relatively poor conditions,” he said. “I’m really liking the mountains — not that you can see (them) in the rain — but I’m definitely enjoying it.”

Reid Bush of Seattle, Washington, took second on the men’s side in 1:21:23.03 and Tyrone Mullings of Lake Placid placed third in 1:31:34.4. Beyerle said the rain only affected him minimally.

“Your shoes are a little wet,” he said. “The shirt is a little wet and heavy, but that’s how it goes. You just move on with it.”

When asked if he would return to the Lake Placid Classic next year to defend his title, Beyerle said it’s hard to say.

“I’m definitely compelled,” he said. “I had a lot of fun today.”

Saturday’s event also included a 10-kilometer race, which had repeat winners from last year’s Classic race with Catherine Kluchinski of Lake Placid winning the women’s race in 38:16.73 and Michael Bodnar of Westport taking the men’s overall title in 37:04.88.

After winning the women’s 10K race for the second year in a row, Kluchinski, 25, said she’s thinking about bumping up distances.

“I like the 10K, it’s only my second 10K race ever,” she said. “Last year was my first. I ran cross-country in college, so I was running 6Ks, so I never really got the chance to run 10Ks, but I really like the distance.”

Margaret Robideau of Niagara Falls placed second on the women’s side in 39:38.73, while 16-year-old Taylor Pennise of Canandaigua was third in 41:32.85.

While the start of the race was instantly cold and wet, Kluchinski said the race itself wasn’t actually that bad.

“It was kind of fun jumping in the puddles,” she said, “especially at the start when everybody was in this 5-inch deep puddle and it’s just like playing.”

Kluchinski said it was really cool to see how supportive the volunteers and other racers were on Saturday.

“Last year there was snow on the ground and this year it was pouring rain,” she said. “It’s just fun. I love coming out here and having the community.”

From nearly start to finish Bodnar, 31, led the men’s 10K race and never looked back. Despite crossing the finish line in first place, he said he started out faster than he should have.

“I wasn’t quite as fast as I wanted to be,” he said, “but I still improved it, but almost a minute.”

Lake Placid native Curtis Howard placed second in the men’s 10K in 38:38.96 and Eli Robideau of Niagara Falls was third in 38:53.91.

Bodnar said it was the rainiest race he’s competing at in many years.

“It slowed me down a little bit, but it wasn’t too bad,” he said.


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