LAKE GEORGE A young volunteer looked at Eliza Barrett with big eyes.
“Did you do the whole thing?” she asked after the 6-year-old crossed the finish line of the Lake George Triathlon with her mom on Saturday.
Eliza Bennett did not, but she has crossed the finish line every year since 2012. This year, her 3-year-old sister Zoe joined Eliza and their mother Jess.
Jess ran the third leg of the triathlon as part of the team Eliza and Zoe’s Heroes. Her husband, Zac, swam the first leg and his father, Dan, biked. Zac and Dan waited for Jess with Eliza, about half a mile out, and Zoe, a couple hundred yards out.
“It’s really cool that they let us do this,” Jess said.
The Barretts come from Maine each year to run the Olympic-length race. Eliza started joining her mom at age 3 and has worked her way farther back every year.
Jason Santarcangelo also carried his 6-month-old daughter across the finish.
“We love families like that,” co-race director Paul Fronhofer said.
The Lake George Triathlon Festival is something of a family affair. Five friends who raced together — Fronhofer, Paul Bricoccoli, Randy Rath, Ted Wilson and Jim Fox — started the race and reached out to their families for help.
Their kids are handing out water. Their moms are working somewhere on the course and even as it becomes a bigger and bigger production, the race still has a family feel.
Seeing it all come together on race day is one of Bricoccoli’s favorite things. The other thing is planning meetings, which stretch out longer than might be necessary as the five friends chat over a few beers.
Kevin Portmann, of Jersey City, N.J., won the overall race — a 9/10th-mile swim, a 24.8-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run — with a time of 2 hours, 2 minutes and 22 seconds.
The top woman, Emily Sherrard of Hopewell, N.J., finished at 2:11:40. She was excited to share her first Lake George Triathlon with her grandparents, who live in Loon Lake and just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
Racing near where she grew up spending time in Loon Lake also made it special. Though she has raced in places like Hawaii, Sherrard says upstate New York is one of the prettiest places she has trained.
Saturday’s race had about 650 entrants, 44 of which were relay teams. About 40 of those participants plan to race in Sunday’s Big George Triathlon, a half-Ironman distance. Doing both races is known as the “King George.”
The race organizers tried to present John Perry with a special jacket for his fifth King George, but Perry doesn’t even want to see it — not until after Sunday’s race.
Perry has competed in every race so far — all 10 Lake George Triathlons and five Big George Triathlons. No one else has done all of them, which is why the organizers wanted to give him the jacket.
The St. Johnsville native started doing triathlons in the 1990s and when Adirondack Race Management started one “in my backyard,” he signed up. Then they started the half-Ironman and Perry wanted to do that too.
But he didn’t want to give up the Olympic-length he had done every year, so Perry did the logical thing — he signed up for both. That first year, maybe four people did both races. Now it’s a special feat that’s earned its own swag.
Perry said he’s dead by the end of the second race. “The swim and the bike, I’m OK, when I get to the run ...” he trailed off.
On the other end of the spectrum, Kevin Bouyea finished his first triathlon, and beat his father’s time.
That was the Queensbury sophomore’s goal, beating the time his father set three years ago — “which he crushed,” the elder Bouyea said. Bouyea has been running road races in the area for a few years and wanted to try something different. The race is open to those age 15 and up, but Bouyea was the only 15-year-old competing.
Both Bouyeas plan to be back next year, and compete head-to-head.