Lake Placid not a normal pleasure trip for these local men

PLYMOUTH — A group of local men took a road trip recently. Literally.
By the time Greg Miller of Bremen, Chad Barden, Art Jacobs and Brad Serf of Plymouth were done they could nearly have biked, swam or run back home. The four didn’t take a normal weekend getaway with the boys — they participated in the Lake Placid Iron Man competition — a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and finishing with a Marathon run of 26 miles.
Serf did best of all the entries posting a time of 11 hours and 38 minutes. Miller was able to run the triathlon in 12 hours and 16 minutes and Barden finished in 13 hours and 29 minutes.
“The one weakling couldn’t finish the course,” said Jacobs, speaking of himself.
Before you take him completely at his word it should be mentioned that there were a couple of extenuating circumstances. Jacobs was hospitalized only a few weeks ago with pancreatitis, had another close call with his daughter that required a lengthy stay at Riley Hospital to insure her health – in all missing six weeks of training for the event at a peak time.
Oh, did we mention that Jacobs’ doctor has insisted that his gall bladder be removed, but has put it off to run his scheduled races for the summer.
“You had to pay everything up front for this so I had to go,” said Jacobs with a chuckle. “They’ll take it (gall bladder) out Tuesday. I have to run in the (Blueberry) Stomp.”
No putting it off further?
“No. I wanted to wait until the 24th for another race later this month but the doctor put his foot down. The real good news is that it wasn’t pancreatic cancer that we were afraid of in the beginning.”
The Ironman race has a siren like quality for those involved with endurance sports.
“It’s really kind of addictive after awhile,” said Miller. “You start with the shorter distance, then you move to the next, and the next, and the next thing you know you’re hooked.”
It also has a lot to do with fellowship. “You meet so many great people,” said Serf. “I enjoy the journey as much as anything. The lifestyle of training for endurance sports. It’s really spiritual as much as anything.”
“You really develop a close relationship with the guys you train with,” said Miller. “There is just a great group of people in Marshall County that train together and it’s a great time.”
Of course there is also the competitive aspect.
“Of course the goal is to make the national finals in Kona (Hawaii),” said Miller. “I keep telling myself that I’ll get there one day by ‘outaging’ everybody. By the time I’m 60 there will be few enough people left and my time will stay fast enough that I’ll finally get there.”
“I’ve already entered Lake Placid for next year,” said Jacobs. “I have to redeem myself.”