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Dutchess County Ready to Host First-Ever Walkway Marathon, Safeguard Participants
Months of extensive training and planning for successful event

Published: 6/10/2015

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie… With the inaugural Walkway Marathon just days away, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is grateful to the numerous County departments and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office who have been planning for months to make the Saturday, June 13th event as safe as possible.

County Executive Molinaro said, “As a partner in the Walkway Marathon, and hosting the vast majority of the 26.2-mile course, Dutchess County feels particular pride for this first-of-its-kind event. We have been working for months to make the day an enjoyable and safe one. The Dutchess County Department of Health and Department of Emergency Response, in particular, have been meeting on a regular basis for several months to formulate a cohesive plan, which will be implemented leading up to the race. That plan includes guidelines to provide high-quality medical care to all participants, volunteers, and spectators, as needed, and guidelines to follow in the event of an unforeseen incident.”

Dutchess County’s Commissioner of Health, Kari Reiber, MD, has been designated as the Medical Director for the Walkway Marathon. 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.

“We are confident the County has the resources to ensure this 2015 Walkway Marathon will be the first of many healthy and successful events,” Dr. Reiber said. “We are grateful to all volunteers for their willingness to participate.”

The plan calls for three medical tents and six 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. Two smaller medical tents will be located across the river and at the Parker Avenue trail access, respectively. Emergency room physicians from local hospitals have volunteered to oversee acute care at all three medical tents, with the assistance of paramedics, nurses, physician assistants, athletic trainers, podiatrists, chiropractors, and massage therapists.

First-aid stations will be located at less than two-mile intervals along the rail trail race course and will staffed by at least two healthcare professionals, with medics and first responders standing by in case acute care is needed.
A medical advisory team, comprised of physicians and an athletic trainer with vast marathon experience, has been collaborating with Department of Health staff in helping develop the medical plan. In addition, volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps of Dutchess County will provide both healthcare and non-health-related assistance, such as communications and documentation.

The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) has been working in conjunction with five other law agencies in both Dutchess County 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 ATV’s, 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, and the New York State Park Police. 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, “After extensive planning, we are confident that the law enforcement that has been put in place will provide for a safe and secure atmosphere for all of the participants,  volunteers, and spectators to enjoy the 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.

“Dutchess County’s involvement has been incredible!” said Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, Executive Director of the Walkway Over the Hudson, “On so many levels and in so many ways, the commitment of County Executive Marcus Molinaro and the entire Dutchess County Government to the Walkway Marathon has enabled this inaugural event to be a winner right off the starting blocks.”

The Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response (DCDER) has also been extensively involved in the Walkway Marathon planning efforts. The marathon is being used as an exercise to evaluate ongoing DCDER training, processes, and equipment. Much of DCER’s training and equipment purchases have been funded via United States Department of Homeland Security and New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services grants.  

As part of the National Incident Management System, these trainings are part of Dutchess County’s ongoing effort to improve response and recovery from natural and manmade disasters. Participants from Dutchess County and its agencies, as well as  state and local police, fire and EMS responders have attended the various trainings in the past several months that have helped to prepare for the Walkway Marathon including:

  • “Incident Command System 300” training in March, a three-day program that provided more than 30 attendees with advanced knowledge and experience in incident and event management.
  • Two-day Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program held in April provided the knowledge of exercise development to more than two dozen participants, who learned the background knowledge to develop, participate, and evaluate an exercise.
  • Emergency Response hosted an Incident Action Plan (IAP) development workshop, a training being held specifically for the Walkway Marathon. An IAP is the guiding document for the response to any significant event. Some two dozen participants attended the daylong IAP session, which provided them a refresher in ICS 300. They also developed a draft IAP for the day of the marathon.
  • A volunteer briefing was held yesterday to review race protocols.

“Dutchess County takes seriously its responsibility to provide runners, their families and spectators with a safe and enjoyable race day experience,” said Dana Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Response. “When the Walkway Marathon was announced in November, the County began its strategy to maintain the safety of all involved. Since then, we’ve taken proactive steps, taking the lead role in training staff and numerous volunteers to make the event as safe as we can.”