It’s been their goal for awhile, and they finally achieved it.
Brother and sister Tom and Betsy Eickelberg were the top male and female finishers at the 21st annual Montauk Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon on Sunday morning, with Tom, 27, winning the race for the sixth straight year with a time of 1:03:17, while his younger sister Betsy, 24, was the first female finisher and 19th overall in 1:20:27.
The point-to-point race began with a half-mile swim at Gin Beach, followed by a 13.5-mile bike ride and then a 5K (3.1-mile) run through Camp Hero, ending at the lighthouse.
David Powers of East Hampton was second in 1:09:02, followed by Kenny Moore of Sayville (1:10:18); Adam Guren of New York (1:12:57); Corey Gilroy of Clifton Heights, PA (1:13:03); Gregory Linakis of Lloyd Harbor (1:14:00); Michal Petrzela of New York (1:14:15); Doug Milano of Aquebogue (1:14:34); Andrey Trigubovich of East Hampton (1:14:52); and Anthony Cantanese of Montauk, who rounded out the top 10 in 1:14:52).
Jill Loveland of Long Beach was the second female in 1:20:43, followed by Christine Grippo of Locust Valley (1:22:01); Paige Duca of Rockville Centre (1:22:06); Katrina Garry of Montauk (1:23:23); Olivia Myszkowski of Maspeth (1:25:36); Angelika Cruz of Montauk (1:25:48); Lucy Kohlhoff of Bronxville (1:26:15); Leslie Hiller of New Hyde Park (1:26:29); and Elizabeth Miles of New York, who rounded out the top ten female finishers in 1:27:13.
Complete results are at prtiming.com.
Just less than 300 competitors finished the race. Last year’s female winner, Nadine Moors, did not return to defend her title this year.
The Eickelberg siblings have been regulars in the Montauk triathlon for years, trekking from their native New Jersey to compete in the race alongside their father, Tom Eickelberg, and family friend Michael O’Donoghue. While Tom Eickelberg has been the man to beat in recent years, Betsy has come close but had not tasted victory in the race, until Sunday.
“It was cool,” she said of winning alongside her brother. “Every year we’d say, ‘let’s try to win it together.’ Usually I’d fail and he’d succeed, but this year we both succeeded, so that was pretty cool.”
Tom Eickelberg said that the race has been a family affair for years, and that in addition to winning alongside his sister, this year was particularly meaningful because it was the first race back for his father, who was sidelined by an injury for the past four years. Eickelberg is also close with race director Jose Lopez, who has worked with Eickelberg as one of his triathlon coaches for several years.
Eickelberg said he was happy to see his sister emerge as the top female this year.
“She’s such a good athlete and such a good runner,” he said. “When we do running races, she usually wins for women and I lose them, and in triathlons it seemed to be the opposite, so it was really cool for it to come together.”
Tom Eickelberg followed in the footsteps of his father in getting into triathlons, and Betsy Eickelberg said she decided to join in on the family trend when she was a teenager. It was a natural fit for her, as she was on both the swim and track teams in high school and went on to run cross country and do track at Adelphi University. Tom Eickelberg has seen plenty of success in both sprint and longer Olympic distance triathlons, with the help of sponsorships from Western Beef, Babylon Bike Shop and Runner’s Edge, in addition to training from Long Island Tri Coach. And while there are plenty of triathlons to choose from across the area—and the growth of their popularity has led to a decline in numbers for the Montauk race—Eickelberg said he always makes time in his schedule to head out east in July.
“Logistically, Montauk is the farthest to get to, but it’s special enough and the race is beautiful enough that for me it’s definitely still worth giving it a shot,” he said. “And you always know it’s going to be run well because Jose does a great job.”
Eickelberg’s win streak at Montauk may come to an end in the not too distant future, however, as he recently moved to New Paltz after accepting a job as the head swim coach at SUNY-New Paltz. It’s a job he said he expects to take up more of his time and energy, giving him less time to compete in triathlons.
All funds from the triathlon go to the restoration of the Montauk Lighthouse.