Tim Steiskal calls one minute, 10 seconds an “eternity” in a triathlon.
Yet that’s how far behind the leader he was when he made the final transition from bicycle to running in Sunday’s Mighty North Fork Triathlon.
“I really had to hunt,” the Brookhaven hamlet resident said. “I had to push myself to the limits of where you don’t want to have to push too often.”
It was worth it.
Steiskal, 24, would end up breaking the tape at 46 minutes, 36 seconds — 43 seconds ahead of second place finisher Adrian Mackay of New York City.
The Naugatuck, Conn. native said he ended up running side by side with Mackay, 49, for a half-mile before he heard a sigh from his competitor.
“Once I heard that noise, I knew I had it,” said Steiskal, who moved to Long Island last year and works as a trainer at the YMCA in Patchogue.
- Additional Coverage: Place feels right at home in Mighty North Fork Triathlon
Though this is his first time running the annual race at Cedar Beach in Southold, Steiskal is a familiar face in local triathlon circles. He won the Riverhead Rocks Triathlon in downtown Riverhead in each of the race’s first two years and he placed second at the Smith Point Triathlon last month. He hopes to defend his Riverhead Rocks title next month.
Steiskal, who has won about 15 triathlons in his career, including eight on Long Island, said the Southold course played to his strengths as a swimmer and a runner. Cycling accounts for just eight miles of the race, while running is 3.5 miles. The athletes start with a 500 meter swim and Steiskal was a collegiate swimmer.
“It was a fast course with rolling hills,” he said. “That really suits my style. And I prefer a shorter bike ride and a longer run.”
- Complete Results: 600 runners compete in Mighty North Fork Triathlon
Steiskal hopes Sunday’s win jumpstarts a sluggish 2014 season by his standards. He finished third in an event in his native Connecticut earlier this week.
His big event this year will be an Ironman 70.3 in New Hampshire Aug. 17.
“I feel like I’m starting to get better and better this year,” he said. “I’m loving it.”
Mike Merl, 19, of Cutchogue placed third Sunday. At Just 16 years old, Thomas Chatin of Mattituck finished fourth.
The race benefits CAST (Community Action Southold Town) and the Southold Fire Department.
See more photos from the event.