LAKE PLACID - Ten years, thousands of runners and perhaps just as many interesting stories.
The 10th Lake Placid Marathon and Half Marathon was held on the streets of the Olympic Village on Sunday, with a field of approximately 1,700 runners.
Nearly two-thirds of the field competed at the 13.1-mile distance while the rest ran in the 26.2-mile marathon.
Participants in Sunday’s 10th Lake Placid Marathon and Half Marathon run on Main Street following the race’s 8 a.m. mass start.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Two runners making their first appearance in the Lake Placid Marathon claimed the overall full-distance titles Sunday as Jake Stookey won the men's race and Mary Kate Curran topped the women's field.
Sunday also the first time both Stookey and Curran, who live in northern New York, have tasted victory while competing in a marathon.
Stookey, a 38-year-old from Clifton Park, crossed the line in 2 hours, 43 minutes and 10 seconds, while Curran, a 31-year-old track coach at St. Lawrence University, finished in 3:14:01.
Both Stookey and Curran, who lives in Canton, have visited Lake Placid on several occasions in the past and finally found the chance to compete in the Olympic Village's marathon. On Sunday, they both had help on their way to victory. Stookey was pushed by his wife Mindy, who ran the half marathon, while Curran received encouragement along the way by fellow Saints track coach Mike Howard, who grew up in Saranac Lake.
"It was an absolutely beautiful course," said Stookey, who finished more than six minutes in front of his nearest challenger, 28-year-old Matthew Posh of Doral, Quebec. "My goal coming in was to finish anywhere from 2:40 to 2:50, and I was able to accomplish that. Winning, that makes it even better."
"My goal was to beat him in today," added Mindy, who finished the half marathon in 2:29:01. "Although I do the half marathons, we kind of push each other. He beat me in once in another race."
An Adirondack 46er, Stookey looked forward to the challenging layout the Lake Placid course offered.
"It definitely isn't a flat course," he said. "I really liked the nice range of hills and the scenery."
Last year's men's overall winner, Stephen Trull of Burlington, Vermont, finished third in 2:51:26. Schenectady's Robert Etien placed fourth in 2:54:35 and Amit Oza of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, was fifth in 2:55:49.
"It's awesome. It's awesome," Curran said following her overall win in the women's marathon. "I heard about the hills here, and I found out that they come up and bite you during the last third of the race. This is not an easy course, but it's a fair course."
Howard, who parted ways with Curran halfway into the race, completed the half marathon in 1:34:42.
"The main goal today was to get Mary Kate this win," Howard said. "She got it done, and for me, it was nice to feel that I was part of it."
Curran, who finished in 3:14:01, said she was affected by temperatures reaching into the 80s late in the race. She won by a slim margin. Chicago's Allison Parker was the runner-up, finishing just 37 seconds behind Curran's winning effort.
"I really slowed down the last three miles," Curran said. "It was hot and it was hilly. At that point, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It was tough out there today."
Parker said Curran passed her about three miles into the race, and in the end, the midwest runner wasn't disappointed with a second-place result.
"After she passed me, my goal was just to keep her within eye shot," said Parker, who originally hails from the Rochester suburb of Fairport. "I'm thrilled with my finish. I didn't even expect to finish second. Really, we came up here for a few days of vacation surrounded by a marathon."
Alyssa White of New York City was third in the women's marathon with a 3:17:13 result, Jolle White of Montreal finished fourth in 3:23:08, and Brooklyn's Alison Domzalski placed fifth in 3:24:17.
After placing fourth a year ago in the half-marathon, Lake Placid native Janne Rand ran to the women's overall title this time around, finishing in 1:30:38.
"Last year was perfect weather, and I was able to finish faster today," Rand said. "In this heat, I was happy to find out I knocked off three minutes off my finish time from a year ago. I wanted to win. I want to come back to this race every year because this is my home town."
Melissa Denman of Montague, New Jersey was the women's second-place finisher in 1:31:02. Lake Placid's Elizabeth Izzo was third in 1:31:22, and Jordan Westcott of Clifton Park placed fourth in 1:32:23.
Latham's Thomas O'Grady captured the men's half-marathon overall title. The 29-year-old finished in 1:13:03, with Michael Roda of Albany finishing runner-up in 1:14:40. Schenectady's Joseph Sullivan finished third in 1:21:09 and Andrew Lavin of Lake Placid was fourth in 1:21:54.
Another first-time competitor in the Lake Placid Marathon was Cathy Belic, who completed her 59th full-distance marathon in the past 13 years. Normally a one-and-done runner when it comes to entering most marathons, the 52-year-old from St. Catharines, Ontario, said she plans to return to compete in Lake Placid again after running in Sunday's race. With her husband Rick waiting at the finish line, she finished in 4:24:21.
"I didn't start running marathons until I turned 40," Belic said. "I've been in the Boston Marathon seven times, and I've returned to the Big Sur Marathon because it was so beautiful, but as a rule, when I do a marathon, I only do it once. That's because I love to travel.
"This is the first time I've been to Lake Placid," Belic added. "I love, love Lake Placid. I'm coming back here."