2nd Annual Walkway Marathon Race Series Will Add ‘Think Differently Dash’

Nearly 3,500 runners are expected to converge on Dutchess County during the weekend of June 11th & 12th for the second annual Walkway Marathon race series, which is being presented by the Walkway Over the Hudson nonprofit organization in partnership with Dutchess County Government. In addition to a marathon, half-marathon, and the MHRRC Treetops to Rooftops 5K event, the 2016 Walkway Marathon Race Series will feature for the first time the Think Differently Dash, a run specifically for people with physical and developmental disabilities.

Representatives from the Walkway Over the Hudson organization, Dutchess County Government, Marist College and several other partnering organizations unveiled plans for the weekend long running event during a press conference held on Tuesday at Walkway State Historic Park’s eastern entrance. The Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5K races, all to be held on Sunday, June 12th, will each cross the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, which spans the Hudson River from the City of Poughkeepsie (Dutchess County) to the Town of Lloyd (Ulster County). The routes for the 2016 Marathon Race series will primarily follow routes established in 2015, with the full and half marathons beginning at Marist College and featuring stretches of the Dutchess Rail Trail, Hudson Valley Rail Trail and Walkway State Historic Park. The Walkway Marathon team will also seek course certification through The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races. In addition to being a Boston Qualifier, this certification will allow the races to receive global recognition and increase our visibility and registration internationally.

Runners registering for any of the Walkway Marathon races can do so at WalkwayMarathon.org, which will officially open on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Held in June earlier this year, the first Walkway Marathon Race series was successful, attracting more than 2,500 athletes from 35 states and six countries, and bringing several thousand people into the area for the exciting new recreational event.

In addition to offering a sanctioned Marathon and Half-Marathon along with the long established Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club Treetops to Rooftops 5K, this year’s event will feature the Think Differently Dash, a run for people with physical and developmental disabilities. This new event will be held on Saturday, June 11, and will begin in the City of Poughkeepsie. Partners for the Think Differently Dash include The Arc of Dutchess, Abilities First, Anderson Center for Autism, Cardinal Hayes Home for Children, and the Taconic Resources for Independence (to date).

“We look forward to building upon the tremendous success of the first Walkway Marathon Race Series, which drew more than 2,500 runners into the Hudson Valley last June,” said Walkway Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart. “We expect even more runners this year and we’re very pleased to offer the Think Differently Dash for the first time. The Second Annual Walkway Marathon race series will truly provide a world class running experience for everyone.”

“Dutchess County is thrilled to bring back the Walkway Marathon for a second year in 2016, following its successful inaugural run this past June,” Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said. “The addition of the THINK DIFFERENTLY Dash will give even more residents of different ages and abilities the chance to enjoy this distinctly Dutchess event. The 2015 Walkway Marathon gave Dutchess County a chance to shine, and I’m sure our local residents will be ready for their encore this coming June.”

“Marist College is pleased to be partnering with Walkway Over the Hudson again to develop this successful athletic event in the Hudson Valley,” said Tim Murray, Marist College Athletic Director. “We are excited to showcase the beautiful Marist College campus once again with the Walkway Marathon Start and Finish Line located on the Hudson River Waterfront adjacent to the Cornell Boathouse.”

"The Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club looks forward to being an integral part of the 2016 Walkway Marathon,” said Patrick DeHaven, Mid-Hudson Road Runners’ Club Treasurer. “Here's to continued success in what will be one of the premier running events in the Hudson River Valley.”

As Runner’s World columnist Roger Robinson recently stated “The Walkway Marathon is an example of the growing trend to what might be called off-road road races. It is an event that takes advantage of the world's rapidly increasing networks of well-surfaced recreation trails to provide race experiences that are scenic, traffic-free, environmentally green, and requiring fewer volunteers.”

“The Marathon brought so many different members of the community together and all were excited to be a part of it…including Royal Carting!” said Evelyn Constantino, Director at Royal Carting Service Co.

Sanctioned as the first “green” race in New York State by Athletes for a Fit Planet, organizers will again use sustainable practices pioneered last year, such as shuttling runners using Dutchess County Government’s public transit system’s hybrid buses, and incorporating race bibs and other elements made from recycled materials wherever possible. With a focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling materials— everything from paper cups to diesel fuel to old sneakers —organizers are committed to offering participants a race that is as eco-friendly as possible.

Walkway thanked lead race sponsors Royal Carting and Arnoff Moving and Storage during the press conference for their pledge of support. Additional sponsorships are available and interested parties can contact Walkway Development Manager Ellen Henneberry at (845) 454-9649.