LAKE PLACID - "Thank you Lake Placid."
Those were the words Stephen Trull said as he looked up to the sky just after crossing the finish line to claim the overall title in the Lake Placid Marathon on June 8.
After finishing runner-up in the race a year ago, the 36-year-old from Burlington, Vt. came back to take the full-distance championship this time with a finish time of 2 hours, 44 minutes and 28 seconds.
Marci Fagan of Lake Placid runs in the half-marathon June 8. She finished in 1:52:27.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Trull crossed the line more than five minutes ahead of his next closest rival, Charlie Bennett, but said winning the race wasn't easy.
"Just after the halfway point, I had to take a three-and-half minute porta-potty stop. I had to do it, and I had to fight back for 10 miles. When you do that, it's painful, but I really wanted to win the race. You really have to push your heart rate."
The victory marked Trull's second marathon victory during the past month in the Adirondacks after he took top honors in the Tupper Lake Marathon on May 19. The athlete of the 35-member strong Green Mountain Multisport team is also the two-time defending champion of the Green Mountain Marathon, which is held in October each year.
Trull, who also has competed in two Lake Placid Ironman races, was greeted at the finish line by his wife Michelle and his 3-year-old son Jackson.
"I'm really doing this for my son," Trull said. "Although he is only 3, I really want to show him if you put in the hard work, the effort and organization into things, you can really get good results. It doesn't matter what it is; it doesn't have to be an athletic endeavor."
This year, nearly 2,000 runners took part in the race, which featured a mass start that sent a wave down Main Street in the cool morning air. The overcast conditions proved to be ideal for a distance race.
Bennett, a 28-year-old from Goshen, finished second in 2:51:04, and New York City's Chao Zhou claimed third in 2:58:52.
Zhou was a first-time runner in the race and decided to enter the event after visiting Lake Placid for a vacation a few years ago. He returned again with his wife and young daughter for another vacation, and this time, it included a 26.2-mile run.
"When I first came here, I found Lake Placid very beautiful," said Zhou, who is 37 and now has four marathon finishes under his belt. "My goal wasn't to win. I just wanted to go under three hours. I did it. I'm happy."
Brian Woods of Saratoga Springs finished fourth in 3:00:03 and Brian Coughlin of Riverside, Conn. rounded out the men's top five with a 3:02:47 finish.
The women's overall marathon title went to Heather Wolfe, a 27-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska. Wolfe, who is spending much of the summer living near Rochester while training for next month's Lake Placid Ironman, picked off runners along the way to win in 3:27:59. Her goal was to prove that her boyfriend, Lee, was wrong when he said she wasn't in as good a physical condition as she was the last time she was training for the Ironman here.
"My boyfriend is my training buddy, and he thought that finishing around four hours was attainable," Wolfe said. "I had to prove him wrong. As it turned out, I was a lot faster than he thought I would be, so I guess I am in pretty good shape.
"Looking at the race, I don't think I got any faster as I went along," Wolfe added. "I was pretty steady all the way. I think the other girls were just slowing down. It wasn't my goal, but I'm thrilled I won."
Following tradition, the majority of runners competed in the half-marathon distance. The overall men's title went to 19-year-old Nick Marcantonio, who finished in 1:09:39. Last year's champion Michael Schram, of Tupper Lake, came back to defend his title but fell short of that goal when he placed second Sunday more than five minutes off the winning pace.
"I definitely wanted to win, and I thought I was ready," the 22-year-old Schram said. "I felt good, my training was good, and I was right up there early on. About seven miles in, I started having internal problems, and that forced me to take a lot of breaks. You just can't get in a good groove when you keep starting and stopping."
The women's overall half-marathon crown went to Miriam Beyer of Brooklyn, a 36-year-old who entered the race for the first time and wasn't actually looking to win.
"I just wanted to have a good race and enjoy the course," Beyer said. "It's so beautiful up here. I was looking at some of the results from the past races and I thought I could be competitive, but winning wasn't necessarily on my radar. I'm pretty excited."
Beyer's finish time of 1:26:40 was also good enough for a 14th-place overall result in the half marathon. Sonya Pasquini of Selkirk was second for the women with a 1:28:51 finish time, and Croghan's McKayla Nuffer was third in 1:30:00.
Lake Placid native and current Albany resident Janne Rand was the women's fourth-place finisher, crossing the line in 1:33:08. The 28-year-old was the women's champion at the half-marathon distance race in Tupper Lake, and said she again, enjoyed running in the Adirondacks.
"We were so fortunate this year," Rand said. "I love running in Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. Both times, it wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cold. The conditions were just perfect."
Forest Ledger of Lake Placid had a day to remember was the youngest competitor in the race. Celebrating his 15th birthday by running in the half marathon, Ledger smoked his personal-best time from a year ago by about 11 minutes. He finished in 1:33:23 place 32nd overall.
"I just wanted to be under 1:40, and really, do as well as I could," Ledger said. "I started to realize that I had a really good time going, and I just went for it. Heading up that last hill really hurt. I was in so much pain, I guess was going fast."
Jeff Edwards, who co-directs the race with Brad Konkler, said he was pleased that runners in this year's marathon were treated to ideal conditions, and added that he was again thankful for all the support the event received from the community.
"Obviously, it was an excellent weather day; maybe the only day of summer we will have this year," Edwards quipped. "Next year will be our 10th year of the marathon. That's quite an achievement. We are blessed to have great support and a great infrastructure for an event like this. A lot of the runners asked if we are going to do something special to celebrate our 10th season next year. I hadn't really thought about that before the race, but I'm sure we will come up with something."