Pedal-Paddle-Run Triathlon highlights county

PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Captain Buffalo of Port Jervis begins the2 mile paddle race in the Mohawk River in the Ninth Annual Peddle, Paddle, and Run race in Niskayuna Saturday, May 13, 2017.PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Captain Buffalo of Port Jervis begins the2 mile paddle race in the Mohawk River in the Ninth Annual Peddle, Paddle, and Run race in Niskayuna Saturday, May 13, 2017.

Daniel Fitzsimmons

Daily Gazette

NISKAYUNA – Over 150 people braved the rain and chill on Saturday morning for the eighth annual Schenectady County Pedal-Paddle-Run Triathlon, which this year was held on the Mohawk River and along the Mohawk-Hudson bikeway.

Participants biked seven miles along Aqueduct Road and the bikeway before kayaking or canoeing two miles along the river. The last leg of the triathlon involved running 3.5 miles along the bikeway. Each leg of the race began and ended at Aqueduct Park in Niskayuna, adjacent to the Rexford Bridge.

Participants were allowed to compete as individuals in any or all of the events, or as a team, with each member completing a different leg of the race.

County legislator Richard Ruzzo participated in the biking portion of the event, and joked that perhaps he didn’t train as hard as he should have.

“I want to be a legislator, I don’t want to be a participant anymore!” joked Ruzzo at the finish line.

Ruzzo said his wife is an avid runner and completed all three events. The couple completed two training bike rides, which Ruzzo believed would be enough. “It’s different on race day,” he said.

Despite his aching legs, Ruzzo said he’ll enter the triathlon again next year.

“It’s a great event for the community, it’s about wellness, it’s about ‘work, play, stay’ here in Schenectady County,” said Ruzzo, who represents District 1. “It was important for me as a legislator to participate.”

Top female finisher Jennifer Harvey of Niskayuna said she started running last year in preparation for the triathlon and bikes year round. Of the three events, running is her least favorite and was the hardest leg of the event, she said.

“I don’t like it but it’s getting easier,” said Harvey.

Harvey, 56, wore a watch during the event that tracked her heart rate and pace, which she checked throughout the race to approximate her position.

“I used my watch to tell me when I was getting lazy,” said Harvey, who finished with a time of 1:08:17. “I wanted to do well and I wanted to beat my time last year, and I did.”

The top male finisher was Eric Seyse, 32, of Scotia, who came in with a time of 1:04:26.

Schenectady County Director of Public Communications Joe McQueen said people enjoy the event because it’s accessible to both serious athletes and casual competitors.

“It’s a challenging enough course where people that are highly competitive can enjoy it but it’s not so competitive that everyday people can’t have fun,” said McQueen.

Last year’s triathlon was at Collins Lake in Scotia, and McQueen said feedback received after the event told organizers that the course was “a little boring.” They moved the race to Aqueduct Park, and the feedback this year has been nothing but positive, said McQueen.

“The Mohawk River and the bike path are county assets, and people get to see the rowing clubs that are here [in Aqueduct Park], the race is competitive but fun, and it’s an opportunity for people to try something new,” said McQueen. “I think when you put all those things together it adds up to a really great time.”