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Dutchess County Ready to Host Second Annual Walkway Marathon, Safeguard Participants

Published: 6/9/2016

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie… Just days away from the Second Annual Walkway Marathon race series, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro today thanked numerous County departments and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, which have been working in conjunction with the Walkway Over the Hudson organization, planning to make this weekend as safe as possible. More than 2,600 runners have registered for this weekend’s races, eclipsing last year’s participation total.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County Government is immensely proud to both be a partner in the Walkway Marathon and to host the great majority of the 26.2-mile route on the Dutchess Rail Trail. The inaugural event was an overwhelming success and for months, we have been working to replicate last year’s accomplishments and make the weekend as safe and enjoyable as possible. In particular, the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health and Department of Emergency Response have met over the past few months on a regular basis, devising a comprehensive plan to be enacted leading up to this weekend. Included in that strategy are guidelines to provide high-quality medical care to everyone involved – participants, volunteers and spectators – as needed, as well as procedures to follow in the event of an unanticipated circumstance.”

This year’s race weekend will begin on Saturday, June 11th with the inaugural “Think DIFFERENTLY” Dash, a 1-mile run/walk on Main Street in the City of Poughkeepsie for participants with special needs. In just its first year, the “Think DIFFERENTLY” Dash attracted 200 participants, meeting organizers’ goal.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the ‘Think DIFFERENTLY’ Dash and run alongside my daughter, Abigail, as we all look past what makes us different and see the unique potential in each of us,” County Executive Molinaro said. “Dutchess County Government has made a commitment to ‘Think DIFFERENTLY’ about residents of all abilities, and this addition to the Walkway Marathon weekend is the embodiment of this philosophy.”

The Treetops to Rooftops 5K, half-marathon and marathon take place on Sunday, June 12th. Doubling last year’s turnout, the Treetops to Rooftops 5K will feature 800 runners, while 1,257 and 344 runners have registered for the half-marathon and marathon, respectively.

The Commissioner of Dutchess County’s Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH), Henry M. Kurban, MD, MBA, MPH, FACPM, has been designated as the Medical Director for the Walkway Marathon race series. The County’s mission is to ensure the safety and health of both participants and spectators on the day of the event, while retaining the ability to respond to any other potential non-marathon, health-related concern that may arise.

“Dutchess County’s resources, training and preparation make us confident this year’s Walkway Marathon will be just as successful as last year’s event,” Dr. Kurban said. “The Walkway Marathon is a great example of the activities that are helping Dutchess County reach its goal of becoming New York’s healthiest county over the next decade.”

A medical advisory team, comprised of physicians and an athletic trainer with vast marathon experience, has been collaborating with DBCH staff in helping develop the medical plan. In addition, volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of Dutchess County will provide both healthcare and logistical assistance, such as communications and documentation. The event will serve as a drill to evaluate DBCH public health emergency preparedness plans and response.

The medical plan calls for one medical tent and eight first-aid stations along the course. The main medical tent will be located at the finish line on the Marist College campus, and will include an acute care area and a cooling area. Emergency room physicians from local hospitals have volunteered to oversee acute care in the medical tent, with the assistance of paramedics, nurses, physician assistants, athletic trainers, podiatrists, chiropractors, massage therapists and administrative support personnel.

The eight first-aid stations will be located at less than two-mile intervals along the rail trail race course and will staffed by at least one healthcare professional, with medics and first responders standing by in case acute care is needed. The marathon event will serve as an exercise to evaluate specific components of the public health emergency response plan.

The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) has been working in conjunction with other law agencies in both Dutchess and Ulster counties to provide law enforcement, safety and security throughout the event. Law enforcement for the marathon will consist of officers on foot, in patrol cars, on ATVs, on bikes, and in boats on the Hudson River. Agencies include: the DCSO, New York State Police, Town of Poughkeepsie Police, City of Poughkeepsie Police, Town of Lloyd Police, the New York State Park Police and Marist College security. Law enforcement planning has been extensive to address all areas of traffic and security and ensure the most efficient use of manpower.

DSCO Captain John Watterson, “Following considerable preparations, we are confident the law enforcement coverage that will be in place will offer a secure and safe environment for runners, volunteers and spectators to enjoy the Walkway Marathon.”

The Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste and the Division of Public Transit have also been involved in the efforts to ensure the Walkway Marathon is a certified “green race.” Numerous steps have been taken for the green certification included online only registrations, digital race packets, sneaker recycling, composting and more. The Division of Solid Waste is providing recycling containers to be used throughout the course, and the Dutchess County Public Transit will be utilizing its hybrid buses as part of the shuttle fleet to transport race participants.

Three water stations along the Dutchess Rail Trail, south of Overocker Road, will tap into the Dutchess County Water and Wastewater Authority’s Central Dutchess Water Transmission Line (CDWTL), which runs beneath the trail. Tapping into the CDWTL will eliminate the need for plastic jugs of water at these three stations, as well as the manpower and vehicles that would have been needed to transport jugs there, again helping organizers with their “green” initiative.

“We’ve been delighted to partner with Dutchess County Government, which has stepped up to provide so much support on so many levels,” said Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, Executive Director of the Walkway Over the Hudson. “We truly appreciate the commitment of County Executive Molinaro and Dutchess County Government to make this event a safe and successful race series, and we look forward to more collaborations in the future.”

The Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response (DCDER) has also been extensively involved in the Walkway Marathon planning efforts, coordinating the various county departments and involved agencies.

“The responsibility to provide runners, the families and spectators with an enjoyable and safe experience on race day is one Dutchess County takes very seriously,” said Dana Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Response. “Building off last year’s success, and in conjunction with local fire and EMS agencies, we have taken proactive steps to again take the lead role in training County staff and numerous volunteers, all with the aim of making this year’s Walkway Marathon as safe as possible.”