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Local first-timers take on the Ironman challenge

July 21, 2017
By KEVIN SHEA - News Intern , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The 19th annual Lake Placid Ironman triathlon will begin early Sunday morning with a dive into Mirror Lake that will be followed by a bicycle ride on, over and through the Adirondack mountains and a hilly run within the village.

Those who sign up, do so knowing they will embark on a non-stop adventure that can take anywhere between nine and 17 hours. For many, the energy and encouragement of the spectators and volunteers spurs them on to take on the challenge.

The race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile marathon. The total mileage covered is a whopping 140.6 miles - all in a (long) day's work.

One might wonder who would dare spend a peaceful Sunday pushing their body to its physical and mental limits for this amount of time, and over these incredible distances.

Below are a few perspectives from local participants who are taking on the challenge for the first time:


Fact Box

Local participants

The following is a list of participants from the Tri-Lakes region who appear on the entry list:


AuSable Forks

Jason Burdo



Martin Deslauriers


Keene Valley

Jennifer Kazmiercak


Lake Placid

Veronica Byers

Joseph Currie

Sean Davis

Brian Delaney

Colin Delaney

Kirk Fasking

Edward Kane

Brandon McCormick


Saranac Lake

April Myers

DJ Racette (Somerville, Mass.)


Tupper Lake

Amy Farrell

Robert Tebo



Jacquelyn Bentley

Bridgette Deeney

Caitlin Skufca

Bridgette Deeney, Wilmington

At 18 years old, Deeney is one of the youngest competitors signed up for the race. She comes from an athletic family, with each of her siblings and parents staying active throughout the year.

In the winter, her younger brother Jackson is a freestyle skier, her older brother Schuyler is a ski coach and both her parents - Michele and Matt Levenson - work various jobs at Whiteface Mountain. They are all certified ski instructors.

Deeney has run with her family - especially her mom and brother - over the years, but later turned to cycling because she said it was easier on her knees. The move paid off in high school as pushed her way to first in states, according to Deeney.

She graduated from high school in Watertown after two years then completed her first year at Allegheny College in May.

Deeney registered for the Ironman last year because she was inspired after watching the athletes participate. The energy Lake Placid exuded during the event enticed her, and a few days after that Ironman, she signed up.

Being an active person, Deeney explained there wasn't much she had to change to prepare for Sunday's race. She said she ate less sugar and resisted the temptation of ice cream, but dietarily speaking, little changed.

She did, however, suffer a setback during her preparation when her bike broke while in college. Being far from home, there was little she could do to get another bike, so she focused most of her training on running and swimming.

A hefty college workload also weighed on Deeney. She said much of her time had to be devoted to studying more than running or swimming. When she returned home, she found a bike and her schedule loosened up a bit, even though she has been putting in a lot of hours working at Placid Planet bike shop in Lake Placid.

Deeney said she has managed to train at least once a day, and her job has also been a benefit.


Jacquelyn Bentley, Wilmington

Bentley says she is in "excitement mode." As a first-time Ironman competitor, she described herself as somewhat nervous, but mostly excited.

Bentley signed up for the event after thinking to herself, "I think I can do this," as she watched athletes push through the course while she volunteered.

Bentley became even more motivated when her mother encouraged her to join. She signed up the first day registration opened.She said the "euphoric" environment of the event compelled her to want to be part of the action, especially once the sun went down and day turned into night.

As an athlete throughout her life, Bentley believes that she is prepared for Sunday. In 2011, she faced a setback when she broke her leg. The pain and lack of activity dragged her down, but her driven personality pushed her out of a brief depression. She found ways to get active and "not only recovered, but took it a step further."

Bentley is a medical director at High Peaks Animal Hospital in Ray Brook, and the nature of her work has made training difficult, especially when it came to swimming. Bentley said pool availability times clashed with her work schedule, and a cold spring provided an additional obstacle.

Bentley has had a lot of support from her family. Her kids, husband, mother and sister have all pushed and encouraged her to do her best. Bentley also mentioned that seeing how her mother and sister have pulled through tough times has motivated her to do her best and keep going.

Bentley's first goal for Sunday is to finish, possibly in the 14- to 15-hour range.


Eddie Kane, Lake Placid

Kane said he hadn't hopped on a bike to train until a year ago. He hadn't really run a mile until six months ago. He didn't plunge into the water to swim until six weeks ago.

Not to say Kane isn't athletic. He was a member of the Lake Placid High School hockey team and continued to play after high school, but had never been an endurance runner. He started to train seriously for Ironman four months ago with his coach Bruno Volpacchio.

Kane, a student at North Country Community College, signed up for Sunday's race a year ago. Like many, the Lake Placid energy that buzzes around the village during Ironman got to him. Many of his friends encouraged him to sign up, a few others thought it would be a ridiculous idea. The encouragement from friends and family prevailed and he signed up.

The 22-year-old found no difficulty in training when he started. His father, Robert Kane, became friends with Volpacchio about 10 years ago. According to Kane, Volpacchio walked into the restaurant his dad owns - Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood - and bonded with his dad.

Kane's first month of training consisted of running and cycling, but for a shorter amount of time than the second month, which Kane estimates took up 30 to 40 hours a week.

Kane will be supported by co-workers, friends and family on Sunday. Adirondack Steak and Seafood will have two Ironman flags hanging on their property: one dangling over the outdoor bar from the ceiling of the tent and the other attached to a flagpole. Many of those working that day, along with his family, will be sporting a yellow T-shirt with the words "Team Kane" on the front alongside the logo of Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood.

Local friends, who according to Kane normally would never attend the Ironman, will also be in attendance Sunday.

Kane hopes to finish the race by 8 p.m. He expects to run more in the future and possibly continue his triathlon career.



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