BY JOHN THEALL Sports writer

ON TO THE NEXT STAGE — Competitors leave the water at the end of the 1,500-meter swim stage during the inaugural Lake Delta Olympic Distance Triathlon on Sunday morning at Delta Lake State Park. (Sentinel photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)

COOL FINISH — Randy Hadzor from LaFayette dumps water over his head after finishing the Lake Delta Olympic Distance Triathlon on Sunday morning. Hadzor took third place overall with a 2:11:08 timed finish. (Sentinel photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)

DIFFERENT PATHS — A runner and a cyclist are headed in opposite directions during Sunday’s Inaugural Lake Delta Olympic Distance Triathlon. (Sentinel photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)

As every rain droplet that came down got heavier and heavier, Michael Sikorski just focused and took harder steps toward getting his first win in a triathlon.

Sikorski, who said he has been a lifelong competitive runner, knew that the final stage of the triathlon — the 10-kilometer run — would be where he would make his move.

He did just that.

Sikorski rallied from fourth place after the second bike stage and caught up and past leader Curt Eggers within the final quarter-mile of the final stage to win the inaugural Lake Delta Olympic Distance Triathlon on Sunday morning at the Lake Delta State Park.

"My goal was to just finish inside 2 (hours) and 15 (minutes). My goal wasn’t to win, it just happened," the 29-year-old from New York City said. "My goal was just to stay in striking distance until I got to the run stage," he added.

Sikorski came across with a 2:09:42 time for the triathlon, which started with a 1,500-meter swim in the lake, followed by a 40-kilometer bike ride through the roads of Westernville and ended with a 10-kilometer run on a loop through the state park.

"It’s really my running background," Sikorski said about how he thought he got the victory. "I really just tried to stay in there on the swim and the bike as best I could, but my run is my strength because I did it in college and high school. Now I’m getting into triathlons because of some injuries that I’ve had due to running," he said.

Sikorski, who has been competing in triathlons for two years now, but said that this was his first full season of doing the three stage feats, said that despite a slow and steady rainfall, the weather didn’t effect how he competed.

"The only thing that the rain effected was the bike for me. I like to run in the rain, it cools me off, and on the bikes, you had to take the turns slow, but other than that the rains weren’t much a factor," he said.

Eggers finished second overall for the males with a 2:10:08 time, while Randy Hadzor from Lafayette took third place with a 2:11:08 timed finish.

While the final run stage was where Sikorski excelled, Curt Eggers’ wife, Mary Eggers, from Henrietta, said that it was her strong suit on the bike course that propelled her to come across the finish line first and take the top overall spot for the female competitors.

"I just tried to stay in front as best I could and go as hard as I can. I really like to ride a bike in the rain and I liked the bike course a lot. The swim competition couldn’t have been better either," she said after she finished with a 2:21:25 time.

"The course was great and you couldn’t go off the course if you tried. All my best performances have been in the rain," Eggers added.

The 36-year-old Eggers said that she has competed in triathlons for 15 years now and that the course was favorable to her. She finished first in the swim portion of the competition with a 25:47 time, and then did the bike course in 1:06:10 followed by a 15:52 timed finish in the run.

"I specialize in longer distance so right now I feel warmed up to go. I can normally do pretty good on the swim and the bike and sort of coast on the run, but my run has really been coming along, but there were some fast girls coming down on me," Eggers said. "This area is great and I had a great time," she added.

Colleen Zogby of Manlius took second overall for the female competitors with a 2:24:14 timed finished and Maryjo Swizdor from Jamesville finished in third place with a 2:30:08 time.

Michelle Valesey from Philadelphia was the top female finisher in the 18-29 age group with a 2:49:56; Amanda Hatfield from Oneida took first for the 30-34 females with a 2:32:00; Carrie Ann Neverldine from Fayetteville finished with a 2:39:45 for the 35-39 group; Stacey Chase Wanamaker of Fayetteville took first in the 40-44 event with a 2:38:48 timed finish; Lorie Ann Voight from Syracuse finished with a 2:33:56 time in the 45-49 group; and Eileen Clinton from Syracuse took first in the 50-59 age group with a 2:52:38 time.

Male age group top finisher included, Zev Myerowitz from Seneca Falls with a 2:20:44 in the 18-29 group; Larry Stroh of Jamesville finished with a 2:13:13 in the 30-39 group; Joseph Gale from Clinton ended with a 2:22:33 in the 40-44 group; Onno Oerlemans from Clinton finished with a 2:16:07 amongst the 45-49 age group; William Garry finished with a 2:11:27 in the 50-59 group; and Terry Habecker from Ithaca finished with a 2:28:05 timed finish amongst the 60-and-over finishers.

There were a total of over 250 competitors in the inaugural race including both individual and relay competitors, while only ten did not finish the event.

Six people from Rome finished the stages, including the top male finisher Mark Rushton, who finished in 31st place overall with a 2:27:58 timed finish, Angela Marie Schachte was the top female Rome finisher with a 2:57:26 result, as Sean Douglas Ervin finished with a 2:52:18, Jason Livingston finished with a 3:01:25 time, Alyson Ryan finished with a 3:18:23, and Mike Stevens finished with a 3:28:08 timed finish. The event was put together by the newly formed ATC Endurance company and its founder, Michael Brych.

Brych, who has also been the director of the Utica Roadrunners’ Falling Leaves race for four years, has also been a competitor in several triathlons, including the Lake Placid Triathlon, himself, and said that it was important to him to bring an event like this to this area.

"I’ve been running for years, and I just got sick of it, and I got into this and I love it. The area didn’t have anything like this, the demand is great and the supply is low, so we knew it was going to be a great thing for the area. It’s a growing sport and we hope to keep going now. We have a great facility here and it was a natural fit," he said.