256 Compete in 30th Annual Triathlon Pawling’s Own Maddie Leopold Triumphs in First Place

by Tom Walogorsky

On Saturday, June 3, Lakeside Park was the site of the 30th annual Pawling Triathlon. Presented by the New York Triathlon Club, this event marked the third outing of their season. All proceeds from the race were donated to the Pawling Teen Center to benefit local youth development. In all, 256 entrants gathered for a showcase of athleticism that attracted many participants from the Pawling community.

The race began with aspiring athletes entering the chilly waters of Green Mountain Lake for a 1/3-mile swim. After circling a buoy in the center of the lake, swimmers returned to the beach to sprint back to the staging area. “It was actually refreshing!” claimed David Smith, a participant from New York City.

From there, the contestants mounted bicycles and headed out of the park and down West Dover Road for an 11-mile ride.

Returning from the ride, entrants left their bikes behind and embarked on the final leg of the race, a three-mile run through the town of Pawling. Runners sprinted out of the park, heading down Lakeside Drive to Charles Coleman Blvd. The streets were lined with supporters who came out to cheer on the runners as they passed by. The participants ran through the village, eventually making their way back to Lakeside Park to the finish line.

For the men, first place was taken by David Martin of New Milford, CT, with a time of 1:02:14. He was followed by Robert Straznitskas of Springvale, ME, at 1:03:11. Sean Dillon of Fishkill, NY, took third place with a time of 1:03:57.

Martin, a sales consultant at Ingersoll Automotive in Pawling, was overjoyed with the outcome. “It was a beautiful race, running through the center of Pawling and seeing the people cheering. There was a good energy in the air – that’s what I feed off of,” Martin said.

In the women’s division, the race was won by Pawling resident Maddie Leopold, with a time of 1:09:28. Coming in second was Eileen Bernhardt of Lagrangeville, NY, at 1:10:49, followed by Lisa Swain of Fair Lawn, NJ, with a time of 1:12:43.

After the three-part test of strength and endurance, contestants gathered for a reception and trophy ceremony presided over by Ross Nichols, Chairman of the Pawling Triathlon. Mr. Nichols has been helping to organize the Pawling Triathlon for 14 years. He lauded the accomplishments of not just the athletes, but also the hard work of the more than 150 volunteers who helped to make the event a success. In addition to promoting competition and community spirit, Mr. Nichols also emphasized the benefits that the event had for Pawling Youth Development and the Pawling Teen Center. “These programs serve hundreds of youths in the community. The purpose is to build the local youth into solid citizens who are willing to contribute to their community,” he said.

Pawling Triathlon 31 is already in the works. Following the event, New York Triathlon Club member Ron Darress said, “I want to thank the town of Pawling for letting us put on this great race. It was a beautiful day today, and we look forward to next year.”

To learn more about the New York Triathlon Club, visit https://nytri.org/.