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Fun is had by all at Highlands Pentathlon

  • Over 130 people participated Saturday in the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon in Charlemont. The five events included a 4.2-mile road/trail run, 20 miles of road biking, five miles of kayaking, a 1.82 mile Navy Seals Bonefrog Challenge obstacle run, and a hillclimb to the summit of Berkshire East with a downhill ski to the finish.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Over 130 people participated Saturday in the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon in Charlemont. The five events included a 4.2-mile road/trail run, 20 miles of road biking, five miles of kayaking, a 1.82 mile Navy Seals Bonefrog Challenge obstacle run, and a hillclimb to the summit of Berkshire East with a downhill ski to the finish.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • "Highlander Brave Heart" Ben Pelto leaps over the final obstacle of the 1.82-mile bone frog leg of the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon Saturday. A fire pit is all that stood between participants and the final event -- hiking up Berkshire East and then skiing to the finish line.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    "Highlander Brave Heart" Ben Pelto leaps over the final obstacle of the 1.82-mile bone frog leg of the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon Saturday. A fire pit is all that stood between participants and the final event -- hiking up Berkshire East and then skiing to the finish line.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Safety boaters at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon cheer for a participant Saturday as he makes his way down five miles of the Deerfield River.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Safety boaters at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon cheer for a participant Saturday as he makes his way down five miles of the Deerfield River.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • A Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon participant whips through the 20 mile road bike leg of the challenge: it was a four-lap criterium style course in the town of Charlemont finishing at the Zoar Gap picnic area.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    A Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon participant whips through the 20 mile road bike leg of the challenge: it was a four-lap criterium style course in the town of Charlemont finishing at the Zoar Gap picnic area.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Over 130 people participated in the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon in Charlemont on Saturday, with some as part of over 30 teams and others running as singles, or "Brave Hearts."<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Over 130 people participated in the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon in Charlemont on Saturday, with some as part of over 30 teams and others running as singles, or "Brave Hearts."
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • A member of "The Mighty Molita" team crosses the finish line of the final alpine skiing event at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    A member of "The Mighty Molita" team crosses the finish line of the final alpine skiing event at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon on Saturday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Spectators at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon had over 20 miles of track for five events to watch on Saturday -- many stuck to one or two locations, with the switch between running and biking being the most popular.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Spectators at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon had over 20 miles of track for five events to watch on Saturday -- many stuck to one or two locations, with the switch between running and biking being the most popular.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • A Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon participant makes his way down the Deerfield river on Saturday through class I-II whitewater rapids.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    A Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon participant makes his way down the Deerfield river on Saturday through class I-II whitewater rapids.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • "Highlander Brave Heart" Matt Pomeroy rounds a bend during the 4.2 mile road/trail run of the Berkshire Highlander Pentathlon on Saturday. Almost 30 people signed up as "Brave Hearts" this year, meaning they tackled each event in succession without any breaks.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    "Highlander Brave Heart" Matt Pomeroy rounds a bend during the 4.2 mile road/trail run of the Berkshire Highlander Pentathlon on Saturday. Almost 30 people signed up as "Brave Hearts" this year, meaning they tackled each event in succession without any breaks.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Members of the J.M.'s Tough Teachers team tag off between the bike and kayaking events at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon on Saturday. Participants signed up as either singles -- "Brave Hearts" -- or teams.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Members of the J.M.'s Tough Teachers team tag off between the bike and kayaking events at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon on Saturday. Participants signed up as either singles -- "Brave Hearts" -- or teams.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Over 130 people participated Saturday in the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon in Charlemont. The five events included a 4.2-mile road/trail run, 20 miles of road biking, five miles of kayaking, a 1.82 mile Navy Seals Bonefrog Challenge obstacle run, and a hillclimb to the summit of Berkshire East with a downhill ski to the finish.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • "Highlander Brave Heart" Ben Pelto leaps over the final obstacle of the 1.82-mile bone frog leg of the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon Saturday. A fire pit is all that stood between participants and the final event -- hiking up Berkshire East and then skiing to the finish line.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Safety boaters at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon cheer for a participant Saturday as he makes his way down five miles of the Deerfield River.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • A Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon participant whips through the 20 mile road bike leg of the challenge: it was a four-lap criterium style course in the town of Charlemont finishing at the Zoar Gap picnic area.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Over 130 people participated in the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon in Charlemont on Saturday, with some as part of over 30 teams and others running as singles, or "Brave Hearts."<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • A member of "The Mighty Molita" team crosses the finish line of the final alpine skiing event at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Spectators at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon had over 20 miles of track for five events to watch on Saturday -- many stuck to one or two locations, with the switch between running and biking being the most popular.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • A Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon participant makes his way down the Deerfield river on Saturday through class I-II whitewater rapids.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • "Highlander Brave Heart" Matt Pomeroy rounds a bend during the 4.2 mile road/trail run of the Berkshire Highlander Pentathlon on Saturday. Almost 30 people signed up as "Brave Hearts" this year, meaning they tackled each event in succession without any breaks.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Members of the J.M.'s Tough Teachers team tag off between the bike and kayaking events at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon on Saturday. Participants signed up as either singles -- "Brave Hearts" -- or teams.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

CHARLEMONT — The crowd gathered at the bottom of the hill at Berkshire East Ski Resort began to stir as the first skier came shooting down the mountain Saturday during the final leg of the third annual Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon. And when Noah Harrison reached the bottom, he pumped his fists in the air as he crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 49 minutes, 37 seconds to cap off a victory for Team Ageless.

Over 150 people competed Saturday in the grueling event, which began with a 4.2-mile run and continued on with a 20-mile bike, a five-mile kayak, a nearly two-mile obstacle-course run, and finally competitors had to climb up to the top of Berkshire East and then ski down to the finish line. Many of the competitors came as part of two-, three- or five-person teams, including Harrison, who’s Team Ageless was formed at the Body Shoppe in Greenfield and came in second last season.

Then there were some participants like Westfield’s Matt Pomeroy, who competed in a class known as the Brave Hearts, because those individuals tackled the entire pentathlon alone. Pomeroy captured the Brave Heart Lad division and took home an Aaron Stone-made trophy that looked like a small stone mountain with a heart carved in the top. Pomeroy completed the course in 3:01.13 to win the solo division, but what made his feat even more remarkable was that he finished eighth overall, meaning he actually bested many of the teams by himself.

“I don’t really know anyone fast enough to keep up with me,” he joked afterward as to why he chose to go it alone.

Pomeroy participated in the event during the inaugural year and took fourth place, but a shattered ankle kept him out of last year’s event. Alex Norden won the Brave Heart Lassies Division in a time of 3:09.53.

As for Team Ageless, they won the Five-Person Open Division and celebrated in the newly renovated Berkshire East lodge following the event, drinking down a free beer from Berkshire Brewing Company, which was on hand sponsoring the event, and enjoying salad and chicken afterward, which was part of the meal all competitors received as part of the entry fee.

Josh Lapinski was the only non-local person on the squad and was the lone missing participant from the post-race celebration. Lapinski, from Pittsfield, got the team off to a strong start in the run as he was the second fastest person there. He then tagged teammate Pat Sullivan, a Greenfield transplant who teaches at Greenfield Middle School and was a former collegiate cycling coach. Sullivan sped around the three-lap course that made up the 20-mile bike and was the first off his bike to tag his teammate for the kayak portion. Sullivan was actually celebrating two outcomes on the day, the other being his one-year anniversary with his girlfriend Emma Donoghue, who he met one year ago while celebrating his team’s second-place finish at last year’s pentathlon.

Team Ageless sported yellow shirts with the slogan “Forever fit, Forever young,” on the back, and it was the perfect representation of the team, which featured one of the oldest competitors in the event in Dr. Alan Ross from Montague, a 71-year-old who handled the water portion of the event. Ross was one of the only competitors to use a canoe (most used kayaks, which are easier to handle, thus quicker), and the boat was a 30-year-old rig he borrowed from his friend, Fred Thompson. Ross said the reason he didn’t use a kayak is because “I don’t get in kayaks,” and that he has been canoeing for about 30 years now and has spent a good deal of time recently preparing for the race by paddling in water that was below freezing.

“I do two-hour workouts in water that is in the 30s of temperature,” he said. “There were some sections where I got some water in the boat, but that old boat had more stability than some of the other, newer boats.”

Ross was the first person out of the river, tagging teammate Larissa Miner, a 2005 graduate of Mohawk Trail Regional High School. Miner tackled the nearly two miles of obstacle course for the team and she said it proved to be much more challenging than she initially thought it was going to be. While she had heard that there were about half-a-dozen obstacles on the course, it turned out to be over a dozen — including crawling through a tunnel, jumping over fire, a wooden wall, rock wall, balance beams and high stepping through ice water — and she recounted the arduous trek with her team.

“I wiped out a couple of times,” she joked. “And then I got to one point where they told me I was going to get a break by sitting on a tube and going down a hill. But then I got to the bottom and I had to carry the tube back up.”

Miner tagged Harrison for the final leg of the five-part course, and this year proved to be a bit more of a challenge for Harrison. Last year, Harrison, who graduated from Pioneer Valley Regional School in 2006 and now lives in Deerfield with girlfriend Miner, waited at the top of the hill and was tagged there before he simply had to ski down to the finish line. This year, skiers had to climb the hill and carry their equipment up. Harrison was second on the hill but passed the person in front of him to take the lead. The personal trainer then said that as he approached the climb’s midpoint, he got so hot he pulled off the winter hat he had been wearing and pitched it away (later retrieving it), but made it to the top first and cruised down to finish nearly two minutes in front of the next person.

The event culminated with an award ceremony and included prizes ranging from prize bags featuring candles from Yankee Candle and other goods, as well as snowshoes, water bottles and other things.

The Mohawk varsity track and field team won the High School Challenge, which featured four teams of five students, with the Mohawk varsity second team taking second place in the division. The Mohawk team was made up of Luke Looman, Josh Rode, Caitlyn Wilkins, Cam Olanyk and Josh Rode, and was heavily cheered on during the event, including by the Mohawk football team, which was on site selling baked potatoes and other goodies to raise money for the program.

Mark Trahan and Mike Henschen won the Team of Two Laddies in a time of 2:52.18, while Lily Lawrence and Becca Abuza won the Team of Two Lassies in 3:52.55. Brandon Boucias and Jesse Porter won the Team of Two Mixed in 2:55.13, while the Team of Two Under-19 was won by Jeremy Fischer and Helen Eifert in 3:41.52. The Team of Five Over-50 was won by Keith Streeter, Ceil Antes, Carl Lafreniere, Mark Newton and Mo Ryan in 3:01, the Collegiate Challenge was won by Shawn Billlings, Jeremiah Jones and Leroy Page in 3:20.23, and the Corporate Challenge was won by Northeast Solar’s Zachary Swan and Rustin Ingold-Smith who were second overall in 2:51.22.

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