Along with nearly 2,700 runners, I participated in the first Suffolk County Marathon ["Off and running," News, Sept. 14]. I'm sure there were 2,700 different reasons for running.

For me, it was to participate in the first edition of this event. The halfway point was in my hometown of Patchogue. The only problem was, I had not run in about six years.

Fortunately, I was a bike volunteer. I had the privilege of accompanying a wheelchair athlete, Peter Hawkins.

He didn't talk much, but acknowledged and encouraged other runners. Rolling through the towns was exhilarating.

While I tried to clear a path for Hawkins, many runners didn't hear me because they wore earbuds, drowning out the pain with music. For safety, I would discourage this practice.

I'm thankful that Hawkins knew what he was doing and conveyed instructions to me. We finished in about 2 hours, 13 minutes, about 20 minutes faster than I had ever run that distance. Although I did not run, I still got to participate in this great event with a great athlete.

Hope to see everyone next year.

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Glenn Olszewski, Patchogue

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Suffolk County Track Officials Association.
 

The first Suffolk County Marathon on Sept. 13 supported a good cause. But I am writing to ask for a different location if it's held again.

Montauk Highway-Main Street was closed for hours and for a very long distance. I work at a store on Main Street in Sayville, and this race had a very negative effect on our store.

There are other places this could have been held -- for example, Suffolk County Community College or St. John's University in Oakdale.

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Go inside New York politics.

I don't doubt that other businesses had a similar experience. Leave the main roads open so stores can conduct business.

Doreen Stanley, West Sayville
 

On behalf of the Long Island running community, I would like to thank the businesses and residents of Great River, Oakdale, Sayville, Bayport and Patchogue for allowing us to use their communities for the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon in Support of Our Veterans.

We recognize that the event caused some inconvenience. We did our best to involve the local community, utilizing a timing company based in Blue Point, buying event shirts and post-race refreshments from local merchants, and coordinating with churches, volunteer fire departments and ambulance companies.

I was thrilled by County Executive Steve Bellone's announcement that $160,000 was raised to support veterans services in the county. Each resident can take justifiable pride in having helped make it happen.

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We hope this will be the first of many such events. I welcome your suggestions as to how we can do a better job of minimizing the inconvenience.

Mike Polansky, Plainview

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Greater Long Island Running Club.