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Farrell earns return trip to Ironman Worlds

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TUPPER LAKE - Very few athletes, competing at the highest level of their sport, are faster at 36 than they were at 24.

Ogdensburg native and longtime Tupper Lake resident Amy Farrell falls in that select company.

She also renewed her membership in a very elite circle of athletes who have qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 12.

Farrell earned her third trip to the Ironman Worlds last weekend when she led the Women’s 35-39 age group and was the first female amateur finisher at Eagleman Triathlon 70.3 (Half Ironman) at Cambridge, MD.

She completed the 1.2 mile swim, the 56-mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run in 4:32.44.

“I was very happy with my time. It fits right in the middle of my two previous bests of 4:19 and 4:39. So I’m faster now than I was at 24,” quips Farrell who by age 24 had followed a natural progression to become a professional triathlete after excelling as a swimmer and distance runner at Ogdensburg Free Academy and earning All-American honors as a distance runner at St. Lawrence University.

Her career as professional triathlete ended with agonizing experiences at Ironman Worlds in 2001 and 2002.

In 2001 she managed to finish, bloodied and severely scraped but undaunted, after being blown off her bike into a deep ravine. In 2002, in the face of an even more ferocious ranging torrent of wind, she was forced to withdraw 30 miles into the bike segment.

She put Ironman behind her to concentrate on her career as a coach and teacher at Tupper Lake Central School and being a wife and mother while concentrating on running and skiing. A concentration which included two near misses at qualifying for the USA Olympic Trials in the marathon.

After the near misses she was right on target when she returned triathlon in triumph placing first in 30-34 age group in the Triathlon 70.3 (Half Ironman) World Championships in 2009 in Clearwater, Fla. and took fourth in last year’s worlds in Las Vegas.

Competing the heat of Las Vegas accentuated a nagging need to fulfill a sense of unfinished business over what she calls that “dreadful DNF” in Kona in 2002.

If she could only find the time to train in the face of an expanding business as usual at home.

Three years ago, she and her husband Kevin LaDue, a carpenter, bike technician and snowboard instructor, purchased the Faust Motel on the outskirts of Tupper Lake to go along with career duties, managing four dogs and raising a free-spirited and very athletic daughter Ruby who they say is very wise beyond her nine years on the planet.

“We are real Adirondack people, we are very busy and we love it,” says Farrell who has also authored a blog “Ruby’s Mom Racing” since 2007.

She shares her love for competing with her daughter Ruby, who has already made her mark in the youth classes of road races and summer mini triathlons in Lake Placid.

Farrell found the time to train and delivered a time in Cambridge which showed she was “Goin to Kona”.

So in October she will return to Kona totally at peace at being very accomplished amateur but still very driven by the desire to take the Ironman challenge to the limit.

“It’s really nice to be amateur. You have a lot more people to swim with,” quips Farrell.

“I am just going to see how the race goes. If the training works with my life and I hit my goal I would like to stay with it and see how I match up in my age group over the years. I still think my best Ironman is still ahead of me.”

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