Purposeful running

LAKE PLACID - The weather couldn't have been better for Lake Placid High School on Saturday, as the Green Dragons hosted their Dragon Tail 5k against the backdrop of a cool and crisp, cloud-free morning. The annual event, which drew nearly 50 runners this year, serves as a fund raiser for the Dragons cross country teams. "It's our third one, and we just keep building," said LP cross country coach Scott Morgan. "The sponsors have been very gracious - we had about 30 of them this year. Because believe it or not, this takes about $2,000 to put on." "We also owe the Lake Placid Police Department and the city a big thank you as well," Morgan added. "Without their assistance, we wouldn't be able to have a course to run."
Unlike other races held in the Lake Placid area, the Dragon Tail 5k takes runners off the beaten path. This year's course had participants trekking from the track outside the high school down through the fields near Lake June. "The city does a great job of mowing a course for us," Morgan said. "And we always go down the night before and mark it off with cones." Lake Placid's own Carlos Santana won the event, finishing with a blistering time of 20 minutes and 39 seconds. He was just one of many Dragons that competed. "He's our second-best runner on the team," Morgan said. "He definitely came out and performed well today." On the men's side, 8-year-old Zander Durastanti breezed past the competition to capture the 1-10 age group with a stellar time of 27:03. The next closest was Alex Ellis, who came in at 40:20, followed by Colton Suggs in third at 42:20. In the 11-15 class, Julian Obregon followed behind Santana, finishing second in 20:51. Scott Sigrist was third with a time of 20:58. Lake Placid's Gabriel Mercer was the only representative of the 16-18 age group, and he finished in 24:19. The same went for the 30-39 class, as Josh Virkler pushed his daughter Elisa in her stroller to a 36:48 finish. In the 40-49 age group, Sean Brown edged Daryl Wirick to secure first place, as Brown finished in 21:03 to Wirick's 22:10. Patrick High won the 50-59 class, coming in at 28:54. Chris Beach was second in 29:57 while Nelson Pacheco finished third in 39:02. Randy Severn and Dale Bargar were the only two runners over 60 on the men's side. Severn finished in 28:43 while Bargar came in at 41:53. Meanwhile, on the women's side, Briana Bodon captured first place in the 11-15 age group with a time of 30:19. Rylee Kelsen was second in 30:24 and Leah Moore was third at 32:36. The largest group of the day, the women's 16-18 class, Gabriella Perez streaked to a first place finish with a sizzling time of 27:16. Nicole Moore followed her in second at 29:33 and Maria Gonzalez finished third in 31:22. Emily Sigrist, bested her son, Scott, winning the 30-39 bracket in 31:21. Lacy Virkler finished second in 37:27 and Hilary Hathaway came in third at 38:07. Only two runners competed in the 40-49 age group, with Regan Davenport finishing ahead of Cherie Starr, as Davenport placed first in 22:38 while Starr finished in 28:53. Sheri Bates won the 50-59 class with a time of 32:19. Ann Phillis Beach placed second in 49:39.95 and Ramonita Pacheco finished third in 51:02. At the rate that the 5k is growing, Morgan said he hopes to continue to add sponsors before next year's race. "We're always gaining sponsors every year," he said. "There's been some talk of getting a full 5K sponsor for next year. It'd still be Green Dragon Tail 5K, but we'd like to get a business and their name involved, too." bhoward@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5841