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SPLASH! hosts 5th annual race weekend

More than 750 competitors took part in the SPLASH! Race Weekend held the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day.

The premier event, the Skinnyman Triathlon, sold out again this year with more than 500 competitors. The winner, Ben Delia of Ashland, Va. crossed the finish line eight seconds faster than last year's winner with a time of 1:05:24.

Sunday, 198 swimmers "Escaped from the Judge," in the one-mile open water swim from the Skaneateles Country Club to Austin Park. About half of the competitors rode the Judge Ben Wiles, the flagship of Midlakes Navigation. Those lucky enough to get a spot on the boat jumped from the deck near the country club docks. The rest of the competitors were bussed from Austin Park to the country club.

The winner was Dan O'Connor of Syracuse who finished the course in 20:11. It was a close race throughout the swim for second place with Skaneateles native Reid Swartz and Delia coming ashore at 20:54 and 20:59, respectively.

Two more races rounded out Sunday's events, the Coon Hill Grind which took competitors from the Skaneateles Ski Hill to the top of the infamous Coon Hill Road and the Skaneateles Road Race where runners sprinted nearly four miles through the Field Days parade route.

About 75 racers braved all four races, competing in the "I'm All That" competition. Delia finished atop that category as well, with a total time of 1:56:58.

All four races saw an increase in popularity this year with all but the Road Race and the Coon Hill Grind selling out before Sunday. Both those races had registration open day of the events. The I'm All That competition saw nearly 30 more athletes participate this year as well.

Members of the race committee attributed the success of the event to the many sponsors and volunteers who contributed time, money and merchandise to the races.

At the end of each event, a variety of prizes were given away to both winners and participants including energy gels, race apparel, gift certificates and glassware.

Francis Dieteman, who competed in the I'm All That competition for the second year, said it's those little touches that make the weekend the highlight of his race year.

"I compete in four to five triathlons per year," he said. "The Skaneateles races are my favorite because they are so well run, everyone is friendly and they really give the athletes a great time overall."

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