East Islip, NY - December 11, 2014 - County Executive Steve Bellone joined state and local officials, chambers of commerce, members of the running community, and local veterans to announce that Suffolk County will host its inaugural marathon September 13, 2015.
The marathon and half marathon are part of County’s new ‘Healthy Suffolk’ campaign – a region-wide initiative designed to encourage and assist residents live healthy and active lives.
"The Suffolk County marathon is a mechanism to highlight the incredible communities, natural resources and businesses we have here in Suffolk County,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “Suffolk County is a world renowned destination. From the Hamptons to our wine country to our amazing downtowns and world class beaches, we are a destination for tourism, businesses, recreation, and living. Our marathon will give us an opportunity to showcase all of that.”
The County Executive will participate in Suffolk County’s inaugural marathon and in addition will be running the New York City marathon this year in support of the Hope for the Warriors Foundation.
The marathon has a distinctly planned route that was designed to showcase and drive tourism towards downtowns along the Great South Bay. The race, which is a Boston Marathon qualifier, will begin and end at Heckscher State Park in East Islip with a Taste of Long Island wine and food festival to end race festivities. Suffolk County has partnered with New York State for race coordination and planning.
“We are proud to work alongside Suffolk County to make certain the inaugural marathon is a success,” said Wayne Horsely, Long Island Director of New York State Parks & Recreation. “This really is a great opportunity to highlight the beautiful Heckscher State Park and we look forward to welcoming the thousands of race participants and supporters.”
“The marathon will give the County the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our vibrant downtowns and give our local businesses a well needed boost,” said Deputy Presiding Officer, DuWayne Gregory. “We encourage all residents to cheer on the participants in the many spectator viewing parties that will line the marathon route.”
County Executive Bellone also introduced the County’s new ‘Healthy Suffolk’ campaign, which encourages residents to Live Well, Be Active and Eat Smart. The campaign is to remind the public that healthy living is different for each individual, but is designed to help keep health and wellness on the forefront of people’s minds. Healthy Suffolk will also increase access and raise awareness of County public health efforts.
Yan Baczkowski, president of the Long Island Visitors and Convention Bureau, added “this type of event will increase tourism to Suffolk’s beautiful downtowns and is exactly what we need to ensure our local economy continues to grow.”
Through sponsorship and entry fees, the marathon is designed to not only be cost neutral but profits are expected. All profits will be donated to local Suffolk County veteran organizations. In addition, the marathon will have a special veteran’s race category.
“We are proud County Executive Bellone continues to find creative ways to support local veterans,” said Tom Ronayne, Suffolk County Director of Veteran Services. “We are looking forward to working with race organizers so that our veteran population has all the information they need to know for this event.”
“This marathon route is well-thought out and the running community is looking forward to a great race,” said Brendan Barrett of Sayville Running Company. “We thank the County Executive for launching this event and will support the race in any way we can.”
Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development studied the per capita revenue generated per race participant of other well-known marathon events and as a result Suffolk County Marathon to generate $7.9 million (based on 4,000 participants).
The course will start at the entrance to Heckscher State Park, go north to Montauk Highway and head east. It will loop through St. John’s University and past the historic Bourne Mansion before continuing along to downtown Patchogue. After looping around downtown Patchogue, the runners will return to Heckscher State Park via Montauk Highway. There will be designated cheering sections in Oakdale, Sayville, Bayport, Blue Point, and Patchogue with live music and entertainment.
For more information on Suffolk County’s inaugural marathon as well as the Healthy Suffolk campaign, visit the website.