Suffolk County Marathon
Shown is a map of the 2018 Suffolk County Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K and relay races.

Courtesy photo

Suffolk County Marathon

Story By: NICOLE FUENTES
10/4/2018


 

Registration for all Catholic Health Services’ four races — marathon, half marathon, 5k and relay race — is now open. This year’s fourth annual race will be specially dedicated to the Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing, particularly the four that died from Long Island, and will also include, for the first time ever, the County Executive’s Cup for active duty military.

The marathon will start and end, for the third consecutive year, in Patchogue Village with a FreedomFest: Taste of Long Island festival throughout the day on Sunday, Oct. 28.

“Every year, the Suffolk County Marathon allows us to raise money to help the tens of thousands of veterans who call Suffolk County home,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “This year we were able to add new features for our runners, including dedicating the race to the 106th Rescue Wing, who faced a tremendous loss earlier this year. I encourage everyone to come out to the races, whether you are running or enjoying FreedomFest, to show your support for our veterans.”

In March, seven members of the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard in Westhampton Beach were killed when a U.S. helicopter crashed in Iraq; four were from Long Island. Each leg of the relay race will be specifically dedicated to one of the four Long Island members that were killed in action, including Major Andreas O’Keeffe, Master Sergeant Christopher Raguso, Technical Sergeant Dashan Briggs, and Major Christopher Zanetis. Additionally, in honor of their memory, Bellone will be running with active duty members of the 106th Rescue Wing. Members of the 106th will be participating in both the full marathon and the relay race to honor their fallen airmen.

This year’s race will also feature a County Executive’s Cup, a new trophy that active duty military personnel who participate in the full marathon are eligible for. The trophy will be awarded to whichever military branch finishes with the top score overall and will have their division name engraved into it. The winners will then be able to take the trophy back to their base until next year’s race. In order to participate, there must be a minimum of five people per branch, and they must be registered for the full marathon.

The full and half marathons will begin at 8 a.m. on Main Street in Patchogue; the 5k will begin just 15 minutes later. The full marathon, of just over 26 miles, will turn around at Heckscher State Park, the 13.1-mile half marathon will turn around at St. John’s campus in Oakdale and the 5k will turn around just past Nicholls Road in Blue Point. The half marathon will still include a national and international championship for those with disabilities. Each trek has promises of South Shore beauty running through Patchogue, Blue Point, Bayport, Sayville, Oakdale and Great River.

The event also provides for a virtual run. By registering for the virtual race option, runners can complete the 5k, half or full marathon anywhere and at any time. All virtual run registrants will receive the same race registration packet, including a finisher’s medal and commemorative T-shirt, as those participating in the actual event, but will not be eligible in the competitive awards categories.

Runners can still sign up all the way through the Sports and Fitness Expo to be held at St. Joseph’s College on Friday, Oct. 26 from 3 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thus far, just over 1,000 runners have signed up; a total of 2,585 runners signed up to run last year. October, according to a marathon spokesperson, is their biggest enrollment month.

The FreedomFest will take place on Main Street in Patchogue at 9 a.m., after the first 5k runners finish and just before the first half marathoners will finish. The event will feature three stages of live musical entertainment and include more than 40 vendors that will highlight local craft breweries, award-winning wines, and local food and produce. The street festival will include many family-friendly events, including pumpkin painting, lawn games and other fun activities. 

Each community has their own live entertainment, music and cheerleaders to cheer on the runners and St. Joseph’s College will host the first-ever Children’s Fun Run prior to bib pickup for the 2018 marathon. The race is open to children 12 and under, and medals will be awarded to all child participants.

For more information on the Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K and Relay Race or to register, please visit www.suffolkmarathon.com.

County exec anticipates event

County Executive Steve Bellone has been preparing to run his fourth marathon. Last year his daughter ran the last 100 yards and crossed the finish line with him. He said he hopes to do the same this year.

“The marathon is coming up really quick. I’ve gotten a little lax with my training, but I am stepping it up now,” he said, explaining that he runs from his Babylon home through the trails at Belmont Lake State Park and back. 

His wife Tracey and three children Katie, 10, Molly, 9, and Michael, 6, will be cheering him on from the sidelines. 

This year, he said, he is particularly excited about the Executive’s Cup and anticipates the winner. He said he also looks forward to the one-mile road to remembrance stretch at the halfway point near the Bourne Mansion, featuring all Long Island service members that lost their lives in service to our country since Sept. 11.

“It’s an incredible stretch of a mile where seeing names and faces of American heroes who sacrificed and died for our country gives you that little boost you need at that point in the marathon,” he said. “It’s going to be an amazing day with beautiful streets packed with people celebrating the marathon, our veterans and our country.”

Marathon preparedness

The Suffolk County Police have identified major intersections for crossing traffic north and south of Montauk Highway. Roads will close at 7 a.m. and will be reopened in sections beginning in Great River and ending in Patchogue as soon as the last runner leaves a community. It is expected Great River roads will reopen around noon and all roads will be reopened by 2 p.m.

SCPD will have 144 identified posts with a combination of officers, volunteer police, auxiliary police, crossing guards and public safety. The neighborhood fire and EMS volunteers will be patrolling their community as normal.

Catholic Health Services, with its partners Hunter Ambulance and Progressive Emergency Physicians, is the provider of race medicine and will be overseeing the medical needs of all runners. The CHS Race Medicine Team will have 17 vehicles deployed throughout the course, as well as teams of physicians, nurses, advanced practice professionals and support staff staffing eight first aid tents and a field hospital to ensure the safety of all participants.

 

Road closures

All roads will close by 7 a.m. and reopen no later than 2 p.m. Main Street in Patchogue to Ocean Avenue will be closed for the FreedomFest until 4 p.m. 

The Suffolk County Marathon was first launched in 2015, with the main objective of providing additional support to the more than 90,000 veterans who reside in Suffolk County. Each year, the marathon raises money to benefit veterans, and to date, the Suffolk County Marathon has raised more than $400,000 for local veterans’ services with more than 9,000 runners participating. Last year’s recipients included: Paws of War, Long Island Cares, America’s VetDogs, St. Joseph’s College, Make it Count, United Veterans Beacon House, General Needs, and the Association of Mental Health and Wellness.