The Second Annual Suffolk County Marathon: Freedom Fest 2016 will be held on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, and will include a marathon, half marathon, and a newly added 5K race. Residents and visitors can register for any of the races online here.
Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $160,000 for local veterans, and all net proceeds for this year’s race will once again benefit veteran services in Suffolk County.
The Suffolk County Marathon Fund Disbursement Advisory Committee, which is currently reviewing grant applications from veterans’ groups, is expected to announce the awards from last year’s race, pending legislative approval, on Tuesday, March 22.
“As a veteran, I think it’s important that we highlight the needs of our veterans and any event that supports their efforts is critically important and certainly special to us,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Legislator DuWayne Gregory.
The race includes a special veterans category for all active military and retired veterans, as well as a para-olympics component.
Catholic Health Services has been named as a Medal of Honor title sponsor of the race, and will also be the official medical sponsor. Last year, CHS provided medical support to hundreds of runners, including medical tent services and field hospital operations.
“As the largest faith-based health system on Long Island, Catholic Health Services was honored to serve as race medicine provider for the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon last year,” said Catholic Health Services President and CEO Alan D. Guerci, MD. “Last year, CHS’s medical team included nearly 100 health professionals who ensured the well-being of more than 3,500 marathon participants. This year, we expect the event to be even larger and we are enthusiastically looking forward to our expanded role as both title sponsor and medical care provider.”
“I am extremely excited that Suffolk County will be hosting yet another a destination marathon where runners from all across the country can come to our region to participate in a wonderful race that will help to support our veterans,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone as this year’s race information was announced in early February. “Whether it is by participating in our training runs, entering the race, becoming a volunteer or simply watching the runners on race day, this is an event that we want our residents to be proud of.”
Mr. Bellone, who has lost 69 pounds since he pledged to live a healthier lifestyle when he began training as a long-distance runner in 2013, was the first to sign up for the marathon, and he takes part in training runs for the marathon that are open to the public.
The marathon route this year will be reversed from last year’s route, beginning and ending in Patchogue Village instead of Heckscher State Park, which will now be the midway point of the race.
The route was designed to highlight the downtowns of Suffolk’s south shore towns.
The new route will begin in Patchogue Village and pass through downtown Bayport, Sayville, Blue Point and Heckscher State Park, finishing back in Patchogue Village.
“It’s exciting for me and for all of Patchogue Village to be able to be a part of the beginning and end of the race this year,” said Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri, whose son is currently serving in the United States Army. “To me, the monies that go back to the veterans organizations is the paramount part of this event.”
“We had a great start with the marathon last year and this year we intend to keep it going – to keep making it better and better,” said Mike Polansky, President of the Greater Long Island Running Club. “We want to make this the most runner–friendly event in the running community.”
Beacon editor Beth Young’s account of running the inaugural half-marathon is online here.
- This Morning’s Bulletin — 3.17.16
- North Fork School Fosters A Community of Makers