It Was a Beautiful Day at the Races at Long Beach

Ryan Siebert bested 660 other finishers
Ryan Siebert’s mother, Denise, who won the Montauk triathlon in 1982 and placed third that year in the Mighty Hamptons inaugural, hugged her son at the finish line Sunday. Jack Graves

   With his mother, Denise, who had placed third in the inaugural year of this race in 1982, looking on, 23-year-old Ryan Siebert of Patchogue won Sunday’s Mighty Hamptons triathlon in Noyac in 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 59 seconds, besting 660 other finishers.
    Siebert’s splits were 22:43 in the 1.5K swim in Noyac Bay, 1:00:06 in the 23.8-mile bike leg, and 39:01 in the 10K run. His swim time was 12th best, his bike time second best, and his run time was the day’s fifth fastest.
    It was the first time Siebert had won at Mighty Hamptons. He was the runner-up in 2010, third in ’11, and third last year, as well.
    “Oh, my God,” Denise Hannon Siebert said when a reporter asked her how she felt seeing her son follow in her triathletic footsteps (while she had placed third at Mighty Hamptons in ’82, she was the women’s winner at what’s now known as the Robert Aaron memorial triathlon in Montauk that year). A top competitor in the 55-to-59 age group, she’s leaving for the world sprint championships in London tomorrow.
    David Powers, 46, of Wainscott and New York City, who had at the Montauk Lighthouse sprint triathlon in July said his days of winning were over, almost pulled it off. He was first out onto the run, though ultimately yielded in the last mile — though not by much — to Siebert, who’s half his age. Powers’s time was 2:04:13.
    “He did it again — he did the same thing in the sprint triathlon too,” said Powers, whose 10-year-old daughter, Alden, cheered him on as he transitioned from the swim to the bike and from the bike to the run. “He’s getting faster and I’m getting slower,” he added, with a resigned grin. Still, it was Powers’s “best finish here.”
    Next up for him, he said, in reply to a question, would be the Hamptons Marathon 5K at the end of the month if Alden wanted to do it.
    The women’s winner, and 13th over all, was Megan Wiseman, 32, of New York City, in 2:14:44.
    But Sunday’s big news, perhaps, was the fifth-place finish of Justin Kulchinsky, a 40-year-old East Hamptoner who last did Mighty Hamptons in 1996, and who started in the fifth wave. “I’m in a state of shock,” he said, after learning that his corrected time was 2:07:32, with splits of 23:38, 1:02:10 — the day’s sixth fastest — and 40:23.
    “I was basically retired for 15 years,” he said, when questioned, “developing a business [Mayfair Rocks], among other things, but then I realized that, spiritually, I needed to come back. I bought a bike, and then some running shoes, and then some goggles. . . . I’ve been running and biking this summer, but not swimming except for a few laps in a pool. If I’d had a decent swim, I could have finished even higher . . . I can’t believe it. . . .”
    On the run, Kulchinsky added, “I’m always playing my brother’s song . . . ‘We had a million dreams when we were 17 / And we’re waiting for them now. . . .’ ”
    Ryan Star, Kulchinsky’s brother, who was standing nearby, said, with a big smile, “It’s so good to see him back . . . there were years when he couldn’t walk. . . .”
    There was good news too for Emi Berger, a former East Hamptoner, that day, when she learned she’d finished third among the women. “The best I’d done before,” said the Denver veterinarian, “was second in my age group.”
    Berger, whose 77-year-old father, Dr. Bernard Berger, had recently done the Around-Manhattan triathlon, as is his custom, said, “I got in at 7 o’clock last night and transitioned here. It was beautiful today. It was a calm swim, the visibility was great, you could see every buoy. The bike was a little challenging, but the run was flat and fast.”
    Berger, whose time was 2:30:40, and Kevin Harrington of Southampton, who finished in 2:24:55, cycled across America, “against the wind,” two years ago at this time of year, averaging 75 miles a day and raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project and Mentor Connect, a nonprofit organization that helps people overcome eating disorders.
    Asked how she liked Colorado, Berger said, with a smile, “It’s a big, big play yard, though I work a lot. . . . I was in an Ironman at Mont Tremblant [Quebec] recently, but my bike broke 30 kilometers into the bike leg and I had to pull out. . . . It would have been my first Ironman. . . .”
    Frieda Edelmann, a first-timer who placed among the women’s top five, volunteered that “it was a great swim . . . it was like a pool, very flat. The bike was hilly, and the run was awesome.”
    “He passed me,” she added, referring to Pat Duffy, a fellow Manhattanites who was standing at her side, “but no one else!”
    “The volunteers were great, there was a lot of energy and spirit . . . everything was perfect,” he said, “and I got this wonderful finishing medal.”
    “Another nice thing,” said Edelmann, “is that the swim starts in the dark almost, and before it’s over the sun’s coming up.”
    Other local participants, aside from Powers, Kulchinsky, Harrington, and Berger, were Charles Whalen of Montauk, who placed 23rd in 2:18:34, John Broich of Sag Harbor, who was 33rd in 2:20:29, and Doug Milano, an East Hampton Middle School teacher, and former Gol den Gloves boxer, who was 40th in 2:21:31. He’d been triathloning for a year, Milano said in answer to a question. “I like triathlons — there’s always so much to work on and to improve on.”
    “Mighty Hamptons is a nice race,” Whalen said, “always full of suffering.”