Weekend athletes, it’s time to lace up those Nikes: The second running of the Walkway Marathon takes place this month. On June 11 and 12, close to 3,500 runners — from elite racers to back-of-the-packers — hoof it into Poughkeepsie to compete in one of four race distances: a full marathon, half-marathon, Treetops to Rooftops 5K, and the Think Differently Dash.
A brand-new addition to the weekend’s lineup, the Dash is a one-mile run/walk along the city of Poughkeepsie’s Main Street. And while it is open to everyone, the Saturday morning event is specifically designed for those with physical and/or developmental challenges. The race was added to ensure that people of all ability levels could take part in the festivities, and to spotlight the Think Differently Initiative, Dutchess County’s effort to connect more effectively with special-needs individuals and their families. The three other races, which all take place on Sunday, traverse the Walkway Over the Hudson—the mid-Valley’s most popular tourist attraction—as well as sections of the Dutchess and Hudson Valley rail trails. And race organizers take pride in the fact that Athletes for a Fit Planet, an environmental consulting organization, certified last year’s race as New York State’s first “green” marathon; their eco-friendly efforts continue this year and include everything from a paperless registration process to awarding finisher’s medals made from recycled materials.
Last year’s event, which drew runners from 32 states and five foreign countries, was such a success that 1,000 additional registrants can toe the line this year. To be one of them, visit www.walkwaymarathon.org.