Oh what a race
ISLIP TOWN—Thousands of runners hit the streets Sunday morning to take part in the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon. About 1,000 marathoners and 2,600 half-marathoners participated (including 173 active military/veterans), while scores of spectators lined the streets to cheer on the participants and give some extra motivation.
County Executive Steve Bellone developed the event as a way to showcase tourism in downtowns along the Great South Bay, raise money for U.S. veterans, and promote health and wellness throughout the county.
The course began at the entrance to Heckscher State Park—where there was also a food and wine festival—and headed north to Montauk Highway before moving eastward. It then proceeded through St. John’s University and past the historic Bourne Mansion before looping around downtown Patchogue. After that, runners returned to Heckscher Park back through Montauk Highway. The half marathon, meanwhile, looped around in the hamlet of Oakdale.
In downtown Sayville, which was filled with enthusiastic crowds, Sayville resident Pete Thompsen stood holding signs with his daughters, River and Kaylee, in support of their mother, Sarah. Sarah’s parents, Donna and David Danielson, were also present to witness their daughter complete her first-ever marathon.
“It’s exciting to able to root for her,” said Donna. “It’s definitely going to be very emotional when we see her because it makes you think about what she’s going through at the time. We’re very proud of her.”
Farther down the road in Blue Point, Blue Point resident Drew Cameron stood with his sons, Finn and Aiden, along with Brooke Mattimore and her sons, Ryan and Sean, to cheer on her husband, Kevin, in his first big race.
“He said it’s going to be his first and only marathon, like a bucket list thing,” said Brooke Mattimore, also a Blue Point resident. “But who knows—he may wind up getting hooked like so many others do.”
“It’s very exciting to have this marathon so close to home,” said Drew Cameron. “It’s great to watch, and good for the residents and the businesses.”
Back in Oakdale, local resident and half-marathoner Annette Noonan reflected on her experience after completing the race.
“It went really well,” said Noonan. “I loved it. I got such a big rush coming over the bridge and seeing my friends waiting for me.
“As a runner, I always go to races in other areas and neighborhoods, so it’s nice to have one so close to home,” added Noonan. “It’s a great way for the community to come together and get people involved, especially the kids. It was also some extra motivation to know that I was running for a good cause bigger than myself.”
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