Tim Steiskal is making a habit of winning triathlons. Especially in Riverhead.
Steiskal, a 23-year-old Connecticut-native now living in Brookhaven, was the first athlete to cross the finish line Sunday morning at the Apple Honda Riverhead Rocks Triathlon. It was the second straight year he’s won the downtown event. He finished in 2:07.36, a full two minutes before second place finisher Stefan Judex of Port Jefferson, according to the official race results.
“It feels great,” Steiskal said afterward, a smile across his face on the overcast day. “I’ve been having a rough year. A lot of the races I’ve entered have been on really hot days. These were perfect conditions for me.”
Steiskal said having moved to Suffolk County in the past year — he’s now working as project director at the Patchogue YMCA — has made the Riverhead race even more special to him.
“A lot of the people I train came here to support me,” he said. “I work with a lot of young kids and it’s great that they came out today. That’s what it’s all about, to inspire the future generation.”
Steiskal said he’s not quite sure how many triathlons he’s won, but that he’s claimed more than a dozen in his young career, which has seen him compete in about 60 triathlons. His goal is to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.
“[Qualifying for the Olympics is especially] tough because they only take two [Americans],” he said. “I ultimately just want to be competing on that level.”
A more immediate goal for him is to run professionally by next year, a move that would allow him to compete in more races at no cost to himself.
Riverhead Rocks female winner Meghan Newcomer, 32, who placed sixth overall, knows a thing or two about turning pro. The New York City resident began competing professionally more than a year ago and she ran, biked and swam in Riverhead for the first time Sunday, finishing in 2:13.39.
“They did a great job with this,” Newcomer said. “It’s a good community race.”
Newcomer, a Kansas City native who moved to New York to attend grad school at Columbia University and now works as a research coordinator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, has been competing in triathlons since 1999. A swimmer in high school, she took to the sport while cross training to rehab an injury.
Not only did she finish ahead of all the other females, three minutes ahead of second place female Danielle Sullivan of West Islip, but she even hung with the best of the male competitors Sunday.
“It’s always fun to win,” she said. “I like to chase the boys. It’s always good to have someone to chase.”
Her long-term goal is to compete in a triathlon in all 50 states.
“I believe I have 12 more to go,” she said.
The top North Fork finisher was Ken Robins, 51, of Cutchogue, who crossed the finish line in 2:18.42, good enough for 13th overall and the top time of anyone over 50 years of age.
Not far behind him was David Gatz, who was the top Riverhead finisher for the second year in a row, coming in at 2:19.06
This year’s oldest competitor to finish was Ron Helin, 74, of Middle Island, who clocked 3:14.24. The youngest was 16-year-old Alex Pekoff of Bellmore, who finished at 2:53.59.