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HIGHLAND TRIATHLON WINNER Michael Halstead displays the racing bike that helped him transverse the 15-mile cycling portion of the race. Below, Cindy Sarles, who was the 57th and final finisher waves to the camera as she crosses the finish line.

Athletes Challenge Themselves At Annual Highland Triathlon

By Ted Waddell
HIGHLAND — June 22, 2004 – There sure weren’t any couch potatoes at Saturday’s 12th Annual Highland Triathlon.
Because if getting up early in the morning to swim a mile in a chilly lake, stripping off your wetsuit and peeling down to biking togs for a 15-mile jaunt and then running four miles wasn’t your thing, you might as well have stayed home in front of the television watching cartoons and munching chips.
But for 57 ripped athletes, the triathlon was a walk in the park. Well sort of, unless you’ve competed on the challenging course of murky water and steep hills.
Michael Halstead of Stone Ridge edged several closing triathletes to take first place with a combined time of 1:19:17 (12:08 swim, 40:18 bike, 25:34 run). Halstead beat second place-finisher Bruce Cadenhead by three minutes and 20 seconds.
“I love this race,” said Halstead. “I’ve been here many times, and I’ve always done well.”
Asked the inevitable ‘why?’, he replied, “I think it’s a healthy obsession . . . I like how it feels to be in good shape and compete.”
Rounding out the top-10 were Mikael Hanson (third), William Capune (fourth), Otto Hoering (fifth), Laura Van Alst (sixth), Edwin Strauss (seventh), Kenneth Marks (eighth), Jeannine Bardo (ninth) and John Hiser (10th).
The 12th Annual Highland Triathlon was dedicated to the memory of Jason Stern, son of race director Doug Stern.
Jason was killed by a drunk driver on May 7, 2004 while riding a motorcycle in Westchester County.
All proceeds of the race were given to Bikers Against Drunk Driving (BADD).
Denise Margulies of New York City finished in the middle of the pack, crossing the finish line in 30th place at 1:50:27 (25:09 swim, 50:55 bike ride and 30:49). She was met at the line by her husband and two young daughters.
As a youngster, she was a competitive gymnast but had to give up sports to help her mom take care of five siblings after her father died.
“Since I was 20, I wanted to be a triathlete,” Margulies said. “After I had my children and on my 36th birthday, I decided that by the time I turned 37 I wanted to run marathons and be an Ironwoman.
Her first marathon was the famed New York City Marathon on November 3, 2003. Margulies, who ran the course in three hours and 27 minutes, the 239th woman to cross the finish line.
Next up was the fabled Boston Marathon two months ago. The weather that April day made it the second hottest race in the marathon’s 108-year history. She finished in three hours, 40 minutes and was 509th in the women’s division.
In preparation for the 12th Annual Highland Triathlon, Margulies taught herself how to swim in four months and picked up a Cannondale R-1000 racing bike.
“I’ve always been a runner,” she said. “I just had to try a triathlon. But if you’re going to use a wetsuit for the first time, practice first because it’s extremely tight on your body.”
As last place finisher Cindy Sarles of Springfield, Vermont legged it to the long-awaited finish line, she was cheered on by her folks and a host of relatives.
She finished the triathlon last at 2:35:53 (21:33 swim, 1:19:53 bike and 49:42 run), repeating last year’s performance of trailing the pack.
But Sarles took her standing in good stride (pun intended) in a post-race interview.
“Last year was a killer, so I had to do it again,” she said.
In 2003, Sarles took to the bike course on a mountain bike. This year, she switched to a more competiitve and time-shredding road bike.
What was the hardest part of the triathlon?
“Good God, it was the biking,” Sarles replied. “It seemed like it was straight uphill.”

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