This past Saturday marked the date of the 28th Annual Pawling Triathlon. Hosted and operated by the Town of Pawling, with support from local businesses and generous individuals, the annual race draws in competitors from across the tristate area to Pawling. The annual race is used to benefit the Pawling Teen Center and other youth programs; over the past thirteen years, the event has raised over $300,000.
Despite the gloomy, overcast skies on Saturday morning, the race started and ended without incident. As in the past, the triathlon began at Lakeside Park with the 1/3-mile swim portion; by 8:45 AM, hundreds of competitors had crowded near the shore in preparation for the 9:00 AM start. Event staff dispatched the racers in waves of one hundred, spreading the competitors out across several minutes gap. Though the weather was less than ideal, a decent sized crowd of supporters turned out to watch the beginning of the race from the beach.
Following their dip in the fresh, clear water, the competitors charged ahead into the 12-mile bike portion, which would take them to the end of West Dover Road and border of Wingdale before the turnaround point. Tragically, some riders sprung flat tires on their journey, but over one hundred volunteers were always nearby to help out. Finally, the competitors returned their bikes to the launch point at Lakeside and took off on the short and fast 3-mile run. The racers were taken on a course that meandered through the village of Pawling, before returning once again to the finish line of Lakeside Park.
Though each of the competitors enjoyed a rewarding experience and became a winner in the broader sense, there could only be one first rank. That honor went to Christopher McCloskey, of Albany, who finished in a quick 58 minutes and 12 seconds, almost two minutes faster than the second rank finish. The first woman to cross the finish, with an overall rank of 42, was Eileen Bernhardt of Lagrangeville, with a finish of 1:12:11. Hopefully, the outcomes of this race will encourage all the participants to train more in eager anticipation of the next triathlon. Congratulations to the ten members of the Pawling Triathlon Committee and Pawling Rec Director Melissa Smith for another successful event gone by!