On Thursday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced that the 7th annual county marathon will be in-person again this year on Oct. 24 in Babylon. Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman/Raychel Brightman

The Suffolk County Marathon will return as an in-person race on Oct. 24 with a "spectacular" new course across the Great South Bay, County Executive Steve Bellone announced Thursday.

The race, which went virtual last fall because of coronavirus-related restrictions, is expected to attract runners from across the region, nation and world to raise money for veterans organizations, Bellone said.

Officials designed a new course that will start in downtown Babylon Village, wind along Montauk Highway, traverse Robert Moses Causeway and the bridges to Fire Island and loop back to end in Suffolk County’s Gardiner Park in West Bay Shore.

Bellone said the race could resume as usual in part because of the efforts by health care workers.

"Because of what you did, we made it through the pandemic," Bellone said outside Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip. The race is sponsored by Catholic Health Services, which runs the hospital.

"We’re here to celebrate today," Bellone said.

This year’s race will be dedicated to veterans who enlisted in the military following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as the nation commemorates the 20th anniversary.

StaceyAnn Castro-Tapler, a Marine Corps. veteran and vice chair of the Suffolk County legislature’s Women Veterans Advisory Board, encouraged people to take part however they can — whether they "run, walk, skip, or mosey with your friends, mosey with your dog."

She continued, "Get out there and do something that’s going to impact your community."

The Suffolk Marathon began in 2015 in Heckscher State Park. Since then, more than 11,000 runners have participated and helped raise more than $600,000 for veterans groups, county officials said.

In 2019, the last time the race was in-person, runners raced through Patchogue.

Registration for the marathon, half marathon and 10K and 5K races is available at www.suffolkmarathon.com.

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