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A Three-Peat at Montauk Triathlon

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 13:42
The eventual winner of the Montauk Mile, Jason Green, in the red singlet, is second from the right.
Craig Macnaughton

William Huffman, a 31-year-old professional triathlete who on Saturday accompanied 30 or so Chelsea Piers Full Throttle teammates out to Montauk for the 43rd Mighty Montauk Triathlon, which memorializes its founder, Robert J. Aaron, and is overseen by his widow, Merle McDonald-Aaron, won the Olympic-distance swim, bike, and run event for the third year in a row, topping a field of 266 competitors in 1 hour, 55 minutes, and 21.74 seconds.

The next day, the Old Montauk Athletic Club-sponsored Montauk Mile's men's race was won, in 4:37.70, by Jason Green, 21, of Shelter Island, and the women's race was won by 27-year-old Melissa Reed of New York City, a first-time visitor to Montauk, in 5:22.62. The day before, she said, she had "done pretty well" in a 10K in Central Park.

Melissa Reed, a first-time visitor to Montauk, was the Montauk Mile’s women’s winner.  Craig Macnaughton


"No records will be set today," Mike Bahel, who had placed 63rd in the triathlon the day before, said as he looked at the weather report on his phone near the Edgemere Road finish line. "The wind's in their face and there's a 100-percent chance of rain when the women's race starts at 11."

Jason's 23-year-old brother, Joshua, who was the runner-up to Ryan Fowkes of George Washington University last year, did not enter, because he was ill, said his father, Toby. His sons, Shelter Island High's cross-country and track coach added, would move soon to Flagstaff, Ariz., to "train, train, train." 

"I told them they had to seize the moment if they're serious about competing. Time flies. I wish I'd done that when I was younger." Both Greens will be in the Shelter Island 10K this Saturday, he said.

Fowkes wasn't at the starting line this time because the day before he'd run a 3:42 in the Adrian Martinez Classic 1,500-meter race in Concord, Mass. James Burke, a Springs resident and Port Jefferson High School graduate who holds Suffolk's indoor mile record, was not in the field of 61 men and boys either, reportedly because he has Lyme disease.

William Huffman, of the Chelsea Piers’ Full Throttle team, three-peated at the R.J.A. Memorial Triathlon in Montauk Saturday.  Jack Graves


East Hampton's Neil Falkenhan, 41, was the Montauk Mile's sole double-dipper. He had finished 14th in Saturday's Olympic-distance triathlon. His 10K run split of 37 minutes had been the day's best, better even than Huffman's, though Huffman, said Falkenhan, could afford to take it relatively easy on the windy, hilly run. Falkenhan was fifth on Sunday in the mile, in 5:03.66, behind Jason Green, Erik Engstrom (4:48.03), Max Goodman (4:48.63), and Luke O'Keefe (4:53.53). 

Falkenhan's 9-year-old daughter, Zoey, was the top kid in the women's race that followed, finishing 11th in 6:59.65, three spots ahead of Heather Caputo-Fabiszak's 10-year-old daughter, Annabelle, who ran the point-to-point mile in 7:22.74.

Annabelle's 47-year-old mother was the fourth-place finisher, in 6:34.88, behind Reed, Caedryn Schrunk (5:54.91), and Nicole Furlong (6:33.34).

The oldest runner was Eugene Carbine, 87, of Montauk, who was greeted with applause before he crossed the finish line in 16:26.26. He ran 15 to 20 minutes most every day, he told an impressed spectator.

While similarly impressed, Maria Gillin, the Elite Feats timer, said, "We've had older ones, guys in their 90s . . . as old as 97."

Back to the R.J.A. Memorial Triathlon, Huffman said, after crossing the line near the Star Island Causeway, that it had been "a perfect day . . . the swim was very cold, bracing, but I like it that way. There was a guy" — C.J. Nuess of Larchmont — "who finished ahead of me. I tried to chase him down, but I couldn't. I caught him on the bike, on East Lake Drive. I came in first on the bike, and didn't push it on the run."

Huffman's splits were 22:32 in the one-mile swim, about three minutes behind Nuess, 51:38 on the 20-mile bike, and 38:37 on the run.

His next triathlon, he said, would be the Challenge New Jersey State Triathlon in the third week of July. He was third, he added, in the 2023 nationals in Atlantic City.

Tim Steiskal, a 34-year-old triathlete from Brookhaven, was the runner-up to Huffman, as he had been last year. Steiskal, who won Mighty Montauk six years ago, crossed the line in 1:58.42.99.

Matthew Connelly, 30, a Full Throttle teammate of Huffman's who had won this triathlon in 2017 and 2019, forwent Saturday's main event because of a calf injury in favor of the aquabike (swim and bike), which he won.

Jillian Jacinth, 31, repeated as the women's winner in 2:08:26.35. The Babylon resident placed 15th over all, about 22 seconds behind Falkenhan. Twenty-eight-year-old Thomas Brierley of East Hampton was the 28th-place finisher in 2:16:33.08. His 23:18 swim was the third best of the day.

For the second year, the triathlon had a sprint competition, whose distances are half those of the full triathlon. It drew 83 entrants. Medford's Joshua Jastemski, 45, won it in 1:17:40.41. Reia Tong, 31, of New York City, the women's winner, was third over all in 1:22:20.53. Alyssa Bahel, who is 27 and lives in Wainscott, was the runner-up to Tong — and sixth over all — in 1:26:24.89.

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