Men tackle long-distance relay

TICONDEROGA - , Ticonderoga School Superintendent John McDonald and High School Principal Mike Graney departed from their usual talks on educational issues recently to informed the Ticonderoga Kiwanis Club about their running team's participation in Reach the Beach, the longest relay race in the United States.

McDonald and Graney told Kiwanians this was the third year that they and 10 other North Country runners have competed in the 24-hour, 200-mile relay that is run from Franconia Notch to Hampton Beach, N.H. The race is run through 30 New Hampshire communities in a series of 36 legs ranging in distance from 2.5 to more than nine miles. While a runner is completing his leg, other team members are driven by vans to the next relay point before gathering at the finish line at Hampton Beach.

Entry fees and sponsorships are used to support the New Hampshire State Park system and City New Year, a community service initiative similar to the Kiwanis-sponsored Key Club. Communities involved in the race are also encouraged to hold fundraising activities to support local causes.

Both administrators were impressed by the high level of organization of the race and the friendliness and support shown by the hundreds of volunteers that make the relay possible.

While participation in Reach the Beach is tiring, and a van full of sweaty runners is neither comfortable nor aromatic, both Graney and McDonald spoke about how much they enjoy the team camaraderie and look forward to the 2009 race to be held on Sept. 18-19.

For McDonald,participation in the race serves as a goal that supports his running endeavors throughout the year.

The runners went on to explain the origin of their team's name. In 2006, they competed as "Adirondack Flash," but felt the name might not be appropriate for a group that finished 121st out of 296 teams. The team changed its name to "Studs and Duds," because as Mr. McDonald explained, "Some guys are runners and some guys like to run; believe me, there is a difference." The team is proud of the fact that its has steadily lowered its running time by over three hours and have improved their team finish (61 out of 351 in 2007 and 45 out 356 in 2008.)

Rounding out the team are: Jay Wells, Matt Karkoski, Chris Mazella, Steve Broadwell, John Carney, Joe Mello, Andy Hastings, Dan Mannix, Mike Franscea and Tim Lawliss.

Although asked by Kiwanis, McDonald and Graney declined to identify who were the "studs" and who were the "duds."

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