The second annual Suffolk Marathon for vets will be held Sunday, Oct. 29



The 2017 Suffolk County Marathon will be held on Sunday, Oct. 29, and “it will once again start and end in downtown Patchogue,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced in Hauppauge in March.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in sister site GreaterBayShore on March 6.

Last year’s marathon and related festivities — including the Freedom Festival and Taste of Long Island street fairs in Patchogue —raised $140,000 for organizations within Suffolk County that provide services to military veterans, Bellone said.

The money gets distributed to the organizations through a committee.

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“The tremendous support that we have received from veterans organizations in this event has been amazing,” Bellone said, recognizing that many military veterans who serve their country often return home to serve their local communities as well.

The Suffolk County Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifier.

The inaugural marathon and half-marathon event drew about 2,500 hundred runners to the South Shore in 2015, with another 2,500 participating in 2016’s installment.

The 26-mile course starts in Patchogue Village and heads to Heckscher State Park, with the full marathon runners then returning to Patchogue, mostly along Montauk Highway.

Mike Polansky, of the Greater Long Island Running Club, which organizes the marathon, half-marathon, 5K and other races, said this year the goal is to draw 4,000 runners.

“Everybody who can run, should be running that day,” he told those who gathered for Monday’s announcement at the H. Lee Dennison Building lobby. “If you can’t run a marathon, you can certainly run a 5K; you have plenty of time to train between now and October.”

The 2017 run will also feature a new, four-person relay option for the full marathon, as well as three and six-mile runs, in addition to the half marathon.

And an app will be available for race fans to track runners’ progress via GPS.

“Even if you don’t want to run, we need volunteers,” Polansky added.

About 250 to 300 volunteers are needed, he said. Anyone looking to help out should contact the Running Club.

The marathon’s chief sponsor is Catholic Health Services of Long Island, which operates hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and provides other healthcare services throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“[Catholic Health Services] has not only provided substantial resources to support this event, they also provide the medical staffing,” Bellone said. “Last year we had about 100 members from the Catholic Health Services team.”

Bellone, who also runs the full marathon, said 170 people needed medical attention in 2016.

“As you’re running in that race, it’s comforting to see all of those Catholic Health Services employees out there,” he said.

Photo: County Executive Steve Bellone announces the date of 2017’s Suffolk Marathon and Freedom Festival, and other races details, March 6 in Hauppauge. (Michael White)

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