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Leader of the pack

Photo courtesy of Irv King’s Facebook page Irv King crosses the finish line first at the “Frickin’ Hot 50K” road race last Saturday at Cassadaga Lake. The Clymer resident completed the 31 miles in 4 hours, 33 minutes.

Irv King has been a devoted runner for 17 years, during which he has completed 15 marathons, including three in Boston. But the Clymer resident might have to make another entry to his running resume after what he accomplished last Saturday.

Competing in the “Frickin’ Hot 50K” road race, the 51-year-old married father of two was the easy winner, completing 10 trips around the 3.1-mile perimeter of Cassadaga Lake in 4 hours, 33 minutes.

Richard Clark of Niagara Falls was second (4:49:44) and Nikki Criscuolo of River Vale, New Jersey finished third (5:08:51).

What makes King’s accomplishment especially noteworthy is the fact that he didn’t even consider registering for the 50K until the day before. Furthermore, he only planned on running 20 miles, but changed his mind when he was informed two-thirds of the way through that he was the leader.

“On Friday when I saw I had already put in 40 (miles) for the week, I figured I could do another 20 and it would be a good week,” said King, an elementary physical education teacher at Clymer Central School. “I just didn’t expect to do all 31, but the day went well. At about 20 miles, they told me I was in the lead. I said, ‘I don’t win too many races, do I bail now?'”

He didn’t.

“I felt pretty good,” he said. “The last 12 miles were a little tougher, but I honestly felt better than I’d felt finishing a marathon.”

King was one of 11 who ran the full 50K, while the 57 others who registered completed various lengths.

Averaging about 55 miles per week, King had hoped to participate in more races, but the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented that from happening.

“There are no races this summer,” King said, “so in May I signed up for one of the virtual races. Currently, I’m in the virtual New York State race (from Buffalo to New York City).”

That means, in the span of four months, King will attempt to run 434 miles.

And you thought 31 miles in one day was impressive?

For King, it’s just another road trip.

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