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Suffolk Marathon’s FreedomFest canceled, but race still on, official says

The start of the Suffolk County Marathon at

The start of the Suffolk County Marathon at Heckscher State Park in East Islip on Sunday, Sep 13, 2015. Credit: Steven Ryan

A stormy and soggy forecast for Sunday led Suffolk County Marathon organizers to call off festivities that typically draw thousands.

The FreedomFest: Taste of Long Island Festival portion of the event, which was to have three stages of live music from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and benefit military veterans, has been canceled, said Jason Elan, a Suffolk County spokesman.

The Long Island Beer, Wine and Spirit Garden — also part of FreedomFest — has been canceled as well, Elan said.

All races, including the marathon, half-marathon, 5K race and 4-person relay, will go ahead as planned, officials said.

“Rain or shine, I encourage all runners to join me tomorrow for our third annual race,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in a statement.

There is a weather contingency plan for the races, including a meteorologist on call throughout the event. If a weather evacuation becomes necessary, runners will be notified by race personnel along the course to evacuate to the closest shelter, officials said.

The Suffolk marathon, a qualifier race for the 2019 Boston Marathon, was scheduled to have three events happening at the same time — the race, the festival and a beer garden.

Forecasters expect showers — possibly a thunderstorm — and high winds Sunday, spurring the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for Long Island from noon Sunday through Monday morning.

With a 100 percent chance of precipitation for the day, the weather service expects especially heavy rainfall during the afternoon, ranging from 1 to 3 inches. A high wind watch was also issued for Suffolk County for Sunday evening.

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