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BU runners overtake LP marathon

June 11, 2019
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - About 1,000 runners took to the streets of Lake Placid on Sunday, June 2 as the 15th annual Lake Placid Marathon and Half kicked off.

And although there were many familiar names among the ranks of those who ran, a marathon newbie was crowned the winner.

Three runners who recently graduated from Boston University took the top three slots in the men's marathon, with Johnny Kemps claiming the title. Kemps won the race with a finish time of 2 hours, 43 minutes and 2.4 seconds. He was followed across the line by teammates Alexander Seal (2:43:33.8) and Zachary Prescott (2:45:12.3).

Article Photos

Johnny Kemps smiles as he crosses the finish line as winner of the Lake Placid Marathon. His time was 2:43:02.
News photo — Justin A. Levine

Kemps said the race was essentially a senior trip, as he and his mates graduated from college recently.

"I just graduated from Boston University, so I'm from Boston now but I grew up in Texas," Kemps said. "We were trying to control the pace because this was my first marathon ever. But I realized I felt good at 20 (miles). I was told by people 'You're going to feel horrible at 20,' but I felt like 'Oh, I'm still in this.'

"I thought top 10 would be awesome. These were my teammates for four years at BU, and they pushed me. It's gorgeous here. My family vacations in Colorado a lot, and this reminded me of that. I feed off the mountain air. The smell of the trees just gets me going. I do a lot of my training in Colorado in the summer, and this just feels like that."

On the women's side, Warwick's Brigid Prial finished first with a time of 3:09:00.3, and she was followed across the line by Lauren Bergam (3:09:19.6) in second and Abby Knight (3:24:51.5) in third.

Race day was a scorcher, with temperatures reaching the mid-70s by the time most racers finished. Prial was brought to the medical tent after finishing, as were several other runners.

"It went really well; I PR'd by 15 minutes," Bergam said. "This is my second marathon. It felt great for 20 miles and then it hit me. (But) the crowd was great. I thought I wouldn't like the double out-and-back, but I saw a lot of runners and they were really supportive. It was awesome.

"I was expecting to beat my PR (personal record), but not by that much. (Lake Placid) was the soonest one (marathon). I wanted to get it over with; I'm really bust the rest of the summer. It's beautiful here."

The race was also host to a 13.1-mile half marathon, and last year's marathon winner came in first in the half marathon this year. Largely due to a silly hat and a bet.

David Bea, of Cincinnati, Ohio, won the half marathon with a finish time of 1:12:43.6. Lake Placid's Sean Davis (1:20:26.5) came in second and Ethan Connelly (1:21:22.1) placed third for the men.

"I felt really good the whole route," Bea said. "It's not a monster course; for all the ups you have to go up, you don't make it up on the downs.

"Last year, I had never been to Placid. With a couple of buddies, we were just walking down Main Street the day before the race killing time and I said 'Let's go into Where Did You Get That Hat?'

"My buddy said, 'If you where this fedora for the whole marathon, I'll give you $100.' So 20 minutes later, I found this woven cowboy hat that's breathable, it won't slide down on my ears, it just fits on my head.

"So 20 minutes later we bought this hat, and he paid $100 to wear it for the whole race. It's got full coverage, full air flow. It's aerodynamic. You can't beat it," he laughed. "And then they said 25 percent bonus if you actually win the race with it on. So I made out last year, and I thought 'We have to come back.'"

In the women's half marathon, New York dominated the results with Canton's Victoria Lederer (1:28:29.8) earning the win. She was followed by Lake Placid's Elizabeth Izzo (1:29:09.2) and Kingston's Gabriela Olivera (1:31:45.1) in third.

"It was awesome," Lederer said. "I just love this place and love this course, so it was great to come back for a second time. I was just looking to have a fun time and enjoy the course.

"It feels great. I put a lot of hard work in. I'm triathlon training, so this was just a good kind of warm up for this summer. I'm at half Ironman, so I haven't made the full distance yet. But I'm doing some halves this summer and some Olympics (distance) too."

The 2020 Lake Placid Marathon and Half race date is set for Sunday, June 14. For full results, go to



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