TUPPER LAKE – Bloomingdale resident Joe Merrihew took first place in the 3.5-mile Tupperpalooza Warrior Run at Big Tupper Ski Area Saturday.
Merrihew finished just ahead of Malone resident Stephen Kemp with a time of 45 minutes and 10.3 seconds. The pair crossed the finish line neck and neck in the second annual race.
Merrihew said it was his first time doing the race, and he found it challenging. The course has a number of obstacles for participants to overcome, including mud crawls, walls and steep hills. Most people finished covered in mud.
“I know this mountain really well, and they decided to pick the steepest trail on the whole mountain to make us go up,” Merrihew said. “There was a mud pit that you sunk in hip deep, that when you splashed in it, it smelled like poop. So it was pretty intense, man.”
Some of this year’s participants said the course was actually harder than the one used last year. Part of the reason for that is there were several obstacles added, including a trench crawl and pond crossing through frigid water.
“I had a lot more fun this year,” said Tupper Laker Keith Kogut. “The obstacles were great. It was a lot more challenging, and I think the competition was stiffer this year, too.”
Kogut finished in fourth place in 46:22, two spots back from his result last year. He came in just behind Christian Woodward of Middlebury, Vt., who had a time of 45:43. The next fastest local finisher was Lyndon Gillis of Tupper Lake, who came across the line at the 1:03:52 mark for seventh place.
The next finisher was Tupper Lake native Kara Kavanagh, the top female finisher with a time of 1:04:04.
Carey Case of Tupper Lake was the second-place female finisher with a time of 1:07:18. She was 10th overall.
While awards were handed out for the top competitors, most people were just doing it for the opportunity to have a good time. Many of the entrants were good athletes who generally compete in other sports.
“I do triathlons and normal runs,” said Betsy Nichol of Copenhagen. “This was totally out of my comfort zone. It was fun.”
Elizabeth Romand of Albany said it was a good time also.
“It was very challenging, but it was a lot of fun, definitely a good time.”
The Warrior Run kicked off a week’s worth of activity in Tupper Lake.
There were numerous other events this past weekend, including the “Rock the Arc” benefit at the Tupper Lake Municipal Softball Field. Five bands, including headliner Double Axel, performed to raise money for the Adirondack Arc, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with developmental disabilities.
On Sunday, Tupperpalooza continued with the Beach Fest at Little Wolf Beach.