Local Ironman representation

LAKE PLACID – Hannah Feinberg grew up in Saranac Lake, often volunteering at the Lake Placid Ironman in the summer.

That experience planted a seed in her mind.

“Ever since I was little, I said, ‘I want to do Ironman,'” Feinberg said.

That time has come. Now 18 years old, Feinberg will be entering her first Ironman competition Sunday in Lake Placid.

Feinberg follows in the footsteps of her mother Jepper Devlin and her aunt Karlan Jessen, each of whom have each completed the Ironman.

Feinberg said she is hoping to beat her mom’s time by crossing the finish line in under 14 hours, but she’d also just be happy with finishing. Either way, she thinks she’s ready for the event.

“I’m actually not nervous at all,” she said. “It’s the most mentally prepared I’ve felt about anything.”

Feinberg is one of 24 locals who appeared on the entries list for Sunday’s Ironman. There were 2,848 entered overall for the event that consists of a 2.4-mile swim in Mirror Lake, a 112-mile bike through Lake Placid, Keene, Jay and Wilmington and a 26.2-mile run in Lake Placid.

Each competitor has their own unique story and goals.

Greg Moore, who lives in Saranac Lake and owns Bear Essentials Apparel, is a veteran of the Iraq War and a member of the board for Homeward Bound Adirondacks.

Moore has done numerous triathlons in the past, but this will be his first Ironman. His goal is to raise awareness for Homeward Bound Adirondacks.

Homeward Bound Adirondacks is a nonprofit organization that specializes in assisting veterans to make the transition from military life to civilian life. It “provides our veterans and families opportunities to realize their full potential through innovative programming with community support,” Moore wrote the Enterprise. Homeward Bound was launched three years ago in Saranac Lake as a proposed veterans retreat and reintegration center. It was billed as a project that could transform the community and help return Saranac Lake to its roots as a healing community. Since then, organizers have partnered with other groups to host a number of veteran healing and reintegration programs, but they’ve also struggled with fundraising challenges and internal disputes about the organization’s direction. They are currently in the process of trying to buy a building in Saranac Lake that would serve as a dormitory and a place to provide programming.

On Sunday, Moore will be wearing an outfit with the Homeward Bound logo.

“If we can gain more community ground and gain more awareness, then it’s only going to grow from there,” Moore said. “One of the big principles of the organization is community involvement. That’s just trying to bring the veterans back into the community and have the community welcome them at the same time, so they both feel like they’re gaining something from the interaction.”

In Tupper Lake, Bob Tebo has been doing the Ironman for the last several years. He is a retired athletic director at the Tupper Lake High School and a former track, skiing and football coach. As someone who loves sports and competition, he is naturally drawn to this event.

“I like the challenge,” he said. “It just kind of grows on you. The more you train and the better you get it at, the more you want to do it.”

Tebo usually trains on his own, although he used to occasionally swim with Stewart McCullouch. Sadly, McCullouch died on July 10 after suffering head trauma in a bicycling accident while training for this year’s Ironman. He was 66.

McCullouch moved to Tupper Lake in 2007 after a long successful career. He worked with NASA and with the Space Shuttle until he retired in 1986. He continued his second career for 10 years at Goddard Space Flight Center in Washington D.C. on DOD programs and then continued as a civilian contractor for an additional 10 years.

Triathlons were a way that McCullouch was able to lose weight and stay in shape.

When Wes Wilson of Bloomingdale heard about the tragedy, he worked with Placid Planet owner Ken Boettger to come up with a way to remember McCullouch during the race.

Wilson is going wear McCullouch’s road identification bracelet Sunday.

“Wes is going to take him to the finish line,” Boettger said. “Quite the sad story.”

Boettger said McCullouch would stop in his shop from time to time.

“He was just a real nice guy,” he said. “He was a good character. He was fun.”