Move over New York Marathon. Boston? You had your turn. This Sunday, the Long Island Marathon runs this town.
The local running community will celebrate its hometown race this weekend, as over 8,000 participants are expected to join in the festivities at Uniondale’s Eisenhower Park, according to the Nassau County executive’s office.
The weekend, which kicked off Friday with a sports and fitness expo, really gets into gear today (Saturday), with the running of the 1-mile and 5k races. Sunday is the big day for long-distance runners, with the 10k, half marathon and marathon, which last year had over 550 finishers.
The county has run the marathon since 1970, when it was just the one race, dubbed the “Earth Day Marathon.” It was renamed in 1978, and the 26.21 miles are run the first Sunday in May.
“The Long Island Marathon is one of the region’s most exciting athletic events,” said county executive Ed Mangano in a statement, adding that safety precautions are being taken to help ensure the safety of runners and participants.
For one, there will be a large contingent of undercover police officers present, as well as K-9 bomb sniffing dogs. No spectator bags are allowed at the finish line and all bags or packages found will either be thrown out or destroyed. Police officers will also carry radiation detectors. People are encouraged to leave their cars at the expanded parking area at Nassau Community College, as no non-credentialed vehicles will not be allowed in Eisenhower Park.
“While no specific threat exists, the Nassau County Police Department will be putting forth enhanced security measures for the safety of participants, spectators, and all members of our community,” said Mangano, also urging those in attendance to report anything that appears to be suspicious.
Unlike last year, in which runners Sunday had to endure rain and strong winds, this year, the weather looks to be relatively mild. Temperatures at the 8 a.m. start will be in the early 50s, with it getting slightly warmer as the morning continues. It’ll be humid, according to the forecast, but there is only a slight chance of rain.
The marathon will start on Charles Lindbergh Boulevard and go around the village of Westbury before the infamous lonely stretch up and around Wantagh Parkway; runners return to the finish line in Eisenhower Park via Old Country Road.
This year, male runners will attempt to unseat Oz Pearlman as the first men’s finisher. Pearlman, a Manhattan magician and illusionist who finished third on America’s Got Talent two years ago, has won the marathon two times in a row. Last year’s women’s winner, Northport’s Amanda Filiberto, an aspiring surgeon, said last year that she didn’t expect to compete this year, as she would be completing her residency.