Inaugural Walkway Marathon Race Day Brings 2,500 Runners

POUGHKEEPSIE and HIGHLAND, NYOrganizers declared Saturday’s inaugural Walkway Marathon races a “big hit” with runners of all ages and experience levels. The event drew over 2,500 athletes who hailed from 31 states and 6 countries, including the US, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Italy and Israel.

The overall winner in the marathon was Garret Burger, age 25, of New York, New York with a time of 02:57:36. The top overall female in the marathon was Rebecca Trachsel, age 40, of Winchester, Massachusetts with a time of 03:13:56. The winning runner in the half marathon was William Griffin, age 25, of Brooklyn, New York with a time of 01:11:40. The overall female in the Half Marathon was Laura Pierce, age 33, of Wethersfield, Connecticut with a time of 01:28:01. The wheelchair marathon was won by Peter Gagliardo, age 30, of Poughquag, New York with a time of 02:15:47. Torsten Gross posted the top time of 1:29:25 in the wheelchair half marathon.

“This was an incredible event and a momentous day!” said Walkway Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart. “Dutchess County Government, Dutchess Tourism, Marist College, Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and our other partners share in celebrating this successful event. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers we know  the athletes enjoyed the race and hope they will return to take a more leisurely stroll on the Walkway! ”

Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Rose Harvey, cheered on the marathoners prior to the start of the race. Dutchess County Executive and first-time Half Marathoner Marc Molinaro, expressed his appreciation to his team and all agencies involved, and welcomed his fellow runners to Dutchess County. Marist College Executive Vice President Geoffrey Brackett welcomed athletes to Marist College and wished them luck. “As I was running across the Walkway, I realized there was no better place in the world to be,” said Mary Kay Vrba, President of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. who ran the Walkway Half Marathon this morning.

Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club President Keith Axelrod said, "What a phenomenal race! Walkway Over The Hudson staff, including Race Director Sue O'Neil and the hundreds of volunteers and sponsors who helped, put on the best running event I’ve ever seen in the Hudson Valley,”

Along with the long established Treetops to Rooftops 5K race, which started at the Walkway State Park’s western entrance, the event featured marathon and half-marathon routes that began at Marist College, included a significant stretch of the scenic Dutchess Rail Trail in Dutchess County, and crossed over the Walkway Over the Hudson, with a turnaround on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Ulster County.

Leaders from the Walkway Board of Directors, New York State Parks , the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club and elected officials presented unique commemorative awards created at the Hudson Valley Manufacturing Center at the State University of New York at New Paltz out of environmentally sustainable materials. Organizers estimated that more than 4,000 racers, spectators, supporters and volunteers participated in the event and will  begin planning for a 2016 race series.

The Walkway Marathon organizers  thank sponsors who contributed to the success,  including: iHeartMedia, Health Quest, Dutchess Tourism, Inc., Marist College, Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club, Royal Carting, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Pepsi Cola of the Hudson Valley, TEG Federal Credit Union, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, M&T Bank, Orthopedic Associates of Dutchess County, Planet Fitness, Safeguard Business Systems, Arnoff Moving & Storage, Poughkeepsie Journal, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Feldman Physical Therapy, Moriarty Physical Therapy, Dr. Erik Sims, Podiatrist, Hudson Whiskey, Town of Poughkeepsie, City of Poughkeepsie, Vassar College, Ulster County Government, Town of Lloyd, SUNY New Paltz, NUUN Electrolyte Drink Tabs, Dutchess Community College, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Bonura Hospitality Group, Hudson Valley Rail Trail, The Bagel Shoppe—Fishkill, M&O Sanitation, Hudson Valley News Network, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, My Brother Bobby’s Salsa, Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Mid-Hudson Civic Center

Please visit walkwaymarathon.org  for full race results, photos and a post-race survey. Proceeds from today’s event will benefit Walkway Over the Hudson organization, a 501-(C)(3).