WESTPORT -- The Westport Roadrunners Summer Series-ending, at times grueling, 10-mile race on Saturday included some New Canaan competitors who have used the series to build up for even bigger runs.

Michael Buscher, 61, was the first New Canaan resident to complete the 10-mile race. He finished in 1:24:54, good for 51st overall and fourth in the men's 60-69 age category.

"It was a tough run. It was fairly humid out there and there were a couple of pretty steep hills," Buscher said.

Buscher is training for his fifth straight New York City Marathon. He's come a long way in a short time. Buscher started running 11 years ago to get back into shape, he said. Darien-based trainer Tom Holland told Buscher that running was the best way to get into good condition. Eight marathons later, Buscher is running on a regular basis, preparing for one big race after another.

New Canaan's Bob Goldblatt, 72, was first among runners in the 70-and-up category. He came across the finish line in 1:45:05. Goldblatt ran eight of the 10 races in the series, featuring runs that increased in distance (beginning with a 2.3-miler back in June) throughout the summer.

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"The 10-mile course is a fairly tough course. It has some tough hills on it," Goldblatt said. "It's a very pretty course."

"The last mile and a half is all up hill. If you're not anticipating it, it's brutal," said Westport resident Eric Sydor, 33, a former New Canaan High School runner (class of 1997).

Sydor placed sixth overall, completing the course in 1:05:35. Sydor said it was a brutal surprise the first time he ran the course. He's preparing for a half marathon and notes that the competition of a long race is more beneficial than just a long, non-competitive run.

"These are great workouts. Every race course experience pushes you harder," he said. Of course, Sydor knows a thing or two about pushing himself, as he competed in the Ironman Lake Placid this summer.

Goldblatt tries to average 35 or so miles per week. He has run a little under his average because of traveling in recent months, but has managed to stay active and competitive. He's completed four triathlons this summer.

"I've always been a runner," Goldblatt said. The 72-year-old was a sprinter in junior high and high school. He started jogging after college. "I got sucked into long distance running," he said with a laugh.

Goldblatt participates with a handful of local exercising groups. He runs with three groups on different days each week, including the Waveny Park runners on Tuesdays, and he swims and cycles with a contingent in Stamford.

"I think, originally, I started to run primarily to keep myself physically fit. Then it became more of a lifestyle thing," Goldblatt said. He finds that jogging proves to be a great way to see cities when he is on the road.

Goldblatt, if his schedule allows, will run Norwalk's Lightfoot Running Club's series ending half marathon on Sept. 15. He's also got a pair of long night time runs lined up in Orlando, Fla. He's participating in the 10-mile Disney Tower of Terror Run at the end of September and will run a half marathon in Florida in November.

For complete race results of the Westport series, visit www.westportroadrunners.org.