Steiskal Wins Tri, Fowkes and Duca Take Montauk Mile

First win for Tim Steiskal, 28, the Patchogue Y.M.C.A.’s membership director
Evan Drutman, who placed fifth in the 50-to-54-year-old group, crossed the finish line with his 4-year-old daughter, Natalie, and his 12-year-old Lab, Glory. Jack Graves

Tim Steiskal, the winner of Saturday’s Robert J. Aaron memorial Olympic-distance triathlon in Montauk, said he began to worry when, as he was running uphill “from the bottom of a canyon” on the run, he saw the defending champion, Matthew Connelly, on his way down.

But then Connelly, whom Steiskal expected would be on his tail in short order, vanished, having made a wrong turn, it was later learned, with a little more than two miles to go in the 10K, the last of the triathlon’s three legs — the first two being a mile-long swim in Lake Montauk and a 20-mile bike out to the lighthouse and back.

It was the first win for Steiskal, 28, the Patchogue Y.M.C.A.’s membership director, who had been the runner-up the past two years. His time, 1 hour, 55 minutes, and 49 seconds, was three minutes better than his time last year, Steiskal said.

He was, he said, third out of the swim, and first in on the bike. It was the third win of the season for him — the Carl Hart Duathlon in East Islip and the North Fork triathlon being the other two.

When questioned at the finish line, Steiskal still was not absolutely sure he had won. He was waiting to see the time for Steven Galvao, a 26-year-old from Selden who, because he’d not done this race before, did not start off in the elite group, but in the third wave. Steiskal need not have worried: Galvao placed 10th, in 2:04:27.3. 

Peter Ventura, a 39-year-old triathlete from Huntington, running in memory of the late Steve Tarpinian under the Team Total Training banner, was the runner-up, in 2:00:52.0. He had never been in the top three here before, he said, “usually fourth, fifth, or sixth.” Tarpinian, he added, had introduced him to triathloning a number of years ago.

Cesar Villalba, 31, of Brooklyn, in 2:01:31.5, and Piers Constable, 47, of New York City, in 2:02:18.4, were third and fourth.

Connelly, who said his wrong turn had probably added two miles to his run, placed 13th, in 2:08:08.3. “Lesson learned,” said Connelly, who is training for the U.S. Nationals in August, and who, despite all, continues to “love this race.” 

Hallie Nicoll, 34, who coaches track at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City, and who also is a part-time Southampton resident, was the women’s winner, and 15th over all, in 2:08:11.9. “I was fifth or sixth out of the water, but first off the bike,” she said.

“I didn’t know about her,” said Merle McDonald-Aaron, the race director, after congratulating Nicoll.

Mike Bahel, one of the local participants — Angelika Cruz, Evan Drutman, Emily Janis, Craig Brierley, and John Broich, who did not finish, being some of the others — said he had made the elite wave swim start with just a couple of minutes to spare. “I’m a slow swimmer — I should be in the fifth wave,” said Bahel, who owns the Body Tech fitness studios here.

He placed fourth in the men’s 50-to-54-year-old division with a time of 2:19:32.8. Drutman, who crossed the finish line with his 12-year-old Labrador, Glory, and his 4-year-old daughter, Natalie, placed fifth among the 50-54s in 2:22:50.6.

When this writer said he thought he had seen Paige Duca among the 300 or so contestants, Bahel said he doubted it because “she’s going to be in the Montauk Mile tomorrow.”

Indeed that was so. Duca, an all-American distance runner at Boston College and a lifeguard here in the summer, won the Montauk Mile’s women’s race in 5:06.72, setting a course record.

Ryan Fowkes, the men’s winner, set a course record too, in 4:39.33, shaving 10 seconds from last year’s time. Fowkes placed third last year, behind Erik Engstrom and Kal Lewis of Shelter Island, a state champion in the 1,600.

Engstrom placed second in 4:45.33, Joshua Green of Shelter Island was third, in 4:49.90. Erik Perez (5:04.43) and Eamon Spencer (5:08.60) rounded out the top five.

Among those trailing Duca in the women’s mile were her 15-year-old sister, Olivia, the runner-up in 5:44.56, Ava Engstrom, third in 5:57.71, and Bella Tarbet, fourth in 5:58.35.

Sponsored by the Old Montauk Athletic Club, the men’s race drew 46 participants, the women’s, 39. 

Jennifer Fowkes described it as “a huge success. We are hoping to grow this event even bigger each year.”

John Conner, 83, after whom the Montauk Mile cup was recently named, was among the spectators.