Montauk’s 31st Set for Saturday

To be contested Saturday morning
Eben Jones, once the world’s top amateur triathlete, and a nine-time winner at Montauk, was among those celebrating the race’s 30th anniversary last year. At the right is the race director Merle McDonald-Aaron. Jack Graves

   The 31st Montauk triathlon, founded by the late Bob Aaron, is to be contested Saturday morning, beginning at 7:30, with what promises to be a brisk mile-long swim in Lake Montauk.
    Both defending champions, the 21-year-old Ryan Siebert of Patchogue and Laurel Wassner, a 37-year-old pro from New York City, who became the first female to win this race outright in 2011, won’t be here, Merle McDonald-Aaron, the race director, said Monday.
    Registration is, as usual, closed, inasmuch as the 650-competitor limit has been reached, McDonald-Aaron said.
    “Ryan is injured,” she added, “and I haven’t heard from Laurel. . . . I don’t think she’s coming, so we’ll have two new winners.”
    David Powers, 45, of New York City and Wainscott, who won Montauk in 2008, was the runner-up in 2010, and who held a several-minute lead last year when he “muffed a flying dismount coming in on the bike,” rendering him hors de combat, is expected, despite his age, to be among the front-runners.
    Another expected returnee, McDonald-Aaron said, will be Eben Jones, formerly the world’s top amateur triathlete and a nine-time winner at Montauk. Jones, who lives in New Canaan, Conn., is 52 now, though he won his age group at the nationals in 2011 and was fourth that year among the 50-54s in Hawaii’s Ironman. Jones last won Montauk in 2002, in 1 hour, 51 minutes, and 55 seconds. Siebert’s winning time last year was 1:52:46.5.
    McDonald-Aaron said the three-part race, which includes 22-mile bike and 10K run legs, would be held rain or shine, “except, if there’s a thunderstorm, we’ll just do the bike and the run.”
    Volunteers are welcome, the race director said. “Anyone interested in helping should come to the race site [the intersection of West Lake and Star Island Drives] between 6 and 6:30 a.m.”
    Check-in will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Harborside Motel tomorrow.
    The race’s beneficiaries will be the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the Montauk Senior Nutrition Center, the East Hampton Town Police Benevolent Association, the Montauk ambulance squad, Phoe­nix House, and the St. Therese of Lisieux youth ministry.