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Plans moving ahead for Seaway Half Maraton

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MASSENA - All the approvals have been given for the first-ever Seaway Half Marathon that will be staged in September in Massena, according to the race organizer.

Josie Hardy, who formed Peak Sports Solutions in 2011, told members of the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors Thursday that she has now received approval from the New York Power Authority, town of Massena and Office of State Parks to hold the race on Barnhart Island.

“There was a little bit of a hiccup trying to get through the Power Authority,” she said.

With those approvals, Ms. Hardy said she’s forging ahead with plans to hold the half marathon and a separate 5-kilometer race Sept. 30 at the Barnhart picnic pavilion at Robert Moses State Park.

The race, which will be sanctioned and insured by USA Track & Field, will offer runners a three-and-a-half hour time limit. Thatequates to about 16 minutes per mile.

Runners will start at the picnic pavilion, run over the Barnhart Bridge and under the Eisenhower Locks before turning right on state Route 131. There, they’ll head to Pontoon Bridge Road and around the former OpTech site before heading back to Barnhart Island.

The 5-K runners will go from the Barnhart picnic pavilion to Robinson Bay Road and back.

The half marathon will begin at 8 a.m., and the 5-K race will start at 8:30 a.m.

The cost for the half marathon is $50 through Aug. 1, and $60 from Aug. 2 to Sept. 26. The 5-K race costs $20 through Aug. 1, and $25 from Aug. 2 to Sept. 26. There will be no race day registration.

Ms. Hardy told chamber board members during an initial presentation in February that she opted for a September event because there were no other races going on at that time, and it would give runners an opportunity to enjoy cooler temperatures and the fall foliage, which will be in full bloom at that time of year.

Ms. Hardy, who organized several races in 2011 including a youth triathlon, two 5-kilometer races in July and August, and a 5-kilometer run organized with the Massena Permanent Firefighters on Sept. 11 that drew approximately 150 participants, is hoping for a few hundred racers for the September event.

The Plattsburgh Half Marathon, in its third year, has drawn 1,000 runners, while the Lake Placid Marathon/Half Marathon has drawn 2,500 runners and the Boilermaker in Utica, now in is 34th year, brings 18,000 runners to the community.

Ms. Hardy said she has emailed running clubs in areas like Vermont, Montreal, Ottawa and Syracuse to help spread the word about the Massena event.

“I got a lot of support back from the presidents,” who said they would spread the word to their members, she said.

She’ll also be attending an upcoming race in Tupper Lake to drum up more participants.

“It’s a pretty popular race,” Ms. Hardy said. “We’ll get it out as much as we can.”

In addition, she said, she’ll reach out to students at the colleges when they return for the fall semester.

“A lot of young people are already in shape and don’t have to train,” she said. “Some people in Massena are already training for the event.”

Ms. Hardy said she’d like to offer a pre-race event to runners at a site in the village, possibly the Massena Community Center. That would include a meal and other activities.

“I think it could be an opportunity where you guys could make some money as well. I wanted to do something together to make sure it was mutually beneficial,” she told chamber board members. “Typically the profit margin is pretty good. Maybe it’s something we want to consider as a fundraiser,” chamber board President Eric J. Gustafson said.

In addition, Ms. Hardy said, she’d like to get some businesses together for an expo “anywhere where we could have space. Outdoors is not a problem.”

She also hopes to get some sponsorship for the event.

“I know it’s a rough economy as far as sponsorship is concerned. It’s hard the first year to convince people to put in money when you don’t know how many people are going to show up,” she said. “If anybody is interested, I would love to talk to them.”

More information on the race is available at www.peaksportsolutions.com.

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