TUPPER LAKE - Joe Merrihew is 2-for-2.
On Sunday, May 20, the 25-year-old Tupper Lake native successfully defended his half-marathon title in the second running of the Tupper Lake Marathon/Half-Marathon.
The event, which started and ended at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park along the shore of Raquette Pond, saw a total of 143 runners cross the finish line, with the overwhelming majority competing at the half-marathon distance. Only 20 runners posted finish times in the race's marthon distance.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
David Balestrini of Lake Placid, right, leads a small pack of runners during the second Tupper Lake Marathon on Sunday, May 20. Balestrini was the 10th overall half-marathon finisher with a time of 1:42:52.
Merrihew, who helps coach the Saranac Lake track and field team, easily outdistanced the half-marathon field, winning in 1 hour, 25 minutes and 43 seconds. Running on a hot Sunday in May that saw the temperature reach as high as 87 degrees, Merrihew's finish time was a little more than minute slower than his winning result from a year ago.
After running the marathon's 26.2-mile distance a year ago, Amy Farrell of Tupper Lake opted to take on the shorter run this time around and easily won the overall women's title, finishing in 1:29.25, which was also good enough for second place overall. Farrell and Merrihew were the only two runners who turned in sub-hour-and-a-half finish times.
"I haven't been training or doing anything really formal, so I was really happy with my run," Farrell said. "It's so impressive to see the running movement growing in Tupper Lake. They weren't just running a 5k, this was a half-marathon and that's a big deal."
20 racers crossed the finish line in the marathon, with Boonville's Erica Ready claiming both the overall and women's title. The 24-year-old finished in 3:27:33. Stanley Hatch, a 50-year-old runner from Cadyville, won the men's overall title in 3:35:35.
Ron Brenner of Lake Placid finished 15th in the marathon with a time of 5:47:24.
Sunday's race featured a wide range of runners ranging in age from 11 to 71, with the oldest and youngest competitors both hailing from Tupper Lake. The youngest was Sophia Martin and she had a strong outing, placing 46th overall in a field of 113 runners who completed the half marathon. She crossed the finish line in 2:16:15.
A contingent of senior Tupper Lake runners brought up the rear in the half marathon, including the final two finishers of the day, who crossed the finish line together in 4:18:18. They were 70-year-old Jeanne Kavanagh and 71-year-old Brenda Strack. Finishing just one second ahead of the pair was Tupper Lake's Lisa Reed, who is 69.
Jesse Anderson of Lake Placid completed the half-marathon course in 4:16:24.