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Our Own 'Ironman'

Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

TRIATHLON ORGANIZER DOUG Stern prepares to send off the first group of swimmers to start the annual event.

Triathletes Put
All Into Competition

By Ted Waddell
YULAN — June 27, 2003 – For the winners of the 11th Annual Highland Triathlon, the taste of victory was sweet.
For others, the final result was a bit more painful as they hit bicyclewheel bending potholes or crashed and burned at the finish line. And some competitors just plain had a hard time making it to the finish line.
The race was just the ticket for folks with Type A compulsive personaities.
If being driven to win was your thing, then cross training for three different sports was ideal: swimming one-half mile, switching gears to biking 14.7 miles and then transitioning to running a four-mile course.
Doug Stern, founder of the Highland Triathlon, began competing in such events in 1984. A year later, he was ranked fourth nationally. Stern presently serves as head coach of the U. S. Triathlon Training Center in Ca.
“This race started when I used to bring my friends up to my house in Yulan to train, and my wife said, ‘As long as you’re bringing all these people up here, you might as well have a race,’” he recalled. “That’s how it all started.
“Triathlon is the ultimate cross- training venue,” said Stern. “It combines three different activities into one event . . . so the stresses on your body are less.”
Stern credited a lot of local people with helping to make the 2003 Highland Triathlon a success. Among them were: Peter Lilholt, commissioner of the county’s department of public works, for getting the roads in shape; members of the Yulan Fire Department for putting out safety cones on the course; and volunteers from the Highland Lake Fire Department water rescue team for a saftey crew out on Washington Lake during the swim.
“It’s for the Type A personality, people who are compulsive about their training or their lives,” said Stern of the sport of triathlon.
The top 10 finishers were: Bruce Cadenhead (who completed the course in a time of 1:23.12), Scott Gac (1:25.10), Paul Bertram (1:25.55), Frank Shobchak (1:29.15), Andrew Schupak (1:29.19), Lauren Warren (1:30.21), Otto Hoering (1:30.30), Charles Cobb (1:31.10), Gary Walters (1:32.43) and William Schneider (1:32.55).
In the men’s division, the top- three competitors included Cadenhead of NYC, Gac of NYC and Bertram of Seldon.
On the local scene, in the male 30-34 age group, Otto Hoering of Jeffersonville came in second (seventh overall). In the male 40-44 age group, Gregg Beimler of Liberty finished first (1:44:19/30th overall) and Edward Musa of Neversink came in second (1:49:21/40th overall). In the male 45-49 age group, William Schneider of Barryville was the second place finisher (1:32:55/10th overall).
In the women’s division, the top-theee competitors were Warren of Rosendale, Barbara Sess of Slate Hill (1:33:29) and Renee Shiller of NYC (1:34:12).
Local women who placed in their respective age categories: age group 25-29, Elizabeth Farrell of Shohola, Pa. (1:44:33/31st overall) took second place in the 25-29 age group and in age group 40-44, Eustacia Schwalb of Youngsville finished first (1:50:46/41st overall).
A total of 68 triathletes competed in the event.
Gary Mesko earned the hard-luck award, as the strapping 16-year-old from Honesdale, Pa. hit a pothole on the bike course, bending a rim and picking up a few cuts and scrapes.
Eleven-year-old Mandy Marquardt came all the way from Fort Lauderdale with her father to swim, bike and run against some of the best. As an underage competitor, she took to the challenging race as an exhibition triathlete.
Before the swim, the husband/wife team of Kelly and Patricia Ireland took turns helping each other into their wetsuits.
After finishing the swim, Timothy J. McGee was so exhausted that he crashed and burned at the finish line of the bike course. He finished 33rd overall with a final time of 1:45.33.
Bruce Cadenhead, 39, of NYC crossed the finish line ahead of the pack.
“I figured I was getting too old to win it,” he said. “I came in second or third the last five years in a row.
“It feels good,” he said. “I really wanted to win one for a long time.”
Cadenhead said this year the hardest leg of the event for him was the bike, as “I haven’t been training as much . . . my chain fell off, and I thought I had blown it, but I caught up going up the hill.”
He celebrated by holding aloft his “almost three years old” daughter Rebecca, who was grinning from ear to ear from all the attention.
For Lauren Warren, a 36-year-old from Rosendale, the third time was the charm.
In her third season as a triathlete, she finished second in the Highland Triathlon in 2001 and ‘02.
“It’s phenomenal,” she said after catching her breath. “I’m really happy . . . I tried to push it all the way.”
The hardest part of the triathlon?
“The swim,” replied Warren. “I just learned how to swim three years ago. . . but for me, the easiest was the run because I’m a runner.”
For information about the sport of triathlon or Doug Stern’s Swimming Clinic (Deep Water Running) in NYC, e-mail him at

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