The Rhinebeck Rotary, at a regular meeting at the Beekman Arms on Monday, March 23, 2015, hosted Sally Mazzarella, chairperson emerita of “Walkway Over The Hudson,” and Susanne O’Neill, “Walkway’s” program and events manager, in an exciting presentation promoting the upcoming “Walkway Marathon,” slated for June 13, 2015. Ms. Mazzarella cited the many impressive features of the “Walkway,” one of the best-known treasures of the Hudson Valley, including: its start-of-the-art, 212-foot high glass elevator, offering a majestic view of the Hudson River; its east and west bank visitor pavilions; its award-winning ambassador program; and its innovative, 21st century mobile web tour program. Ms. Mazzarella was most enthusiastic when she introduced Ms. O’Neill who, as “race director,” will oversee all aspects of the first annual “Walkway Marathon.”



Ms. O’Neill detailed that this first-ever event will include three discrete races — a 5K race, a half-Marathon, and a full Marathon – which will include competitors from 24 states and 5 countries and will serve as a qualifying race for the prestigious Boston Marathon. She went on to say that the goal of 2,000 runners would most probably be met and that the entire event would draw some 5,000 visitors to Dutchess County, most of whom, it was expected, would avail themselves of hotels, motels, restaurants, and shops, thereby boosting the county’s economy. A key element of all three races will be the use of rail trails, she went on, making the event particularly exciting as one of the world’s few “off road” races, as well as one of the few “fast and flat” courses. Ms. O’Neill further detailed how the full Marathon would begin and end on the campus of Marist College, taking runners on a magnificent tour of the county, including a final stretch over the Walkway itself, and was being sponsored by a host of county businesses, most prominently Royal Carting, HealthQuest, and I “Heart” Media.


“This is a perfect public/private partnership,” Ms. O’Neill said, “involving the surface of the Walkway, overseen by the New York State Office of Parks/Recreation and Historic Preservation, the bridge containing the Walkway, supervised by the New York State Bridge Authority, a variety of city, town, and local governments, county governments, corporate sponsors, and hundreds of citizen volunteers.”


For detailed information on the races or to register as a runner, interest parties may contact Susanne O’Neill at soneil@walkway.org. For detailed information on how to become a sponsor or to participate as a volunteer, people may contact Ellen Henneberry at ehenneberry@qalkway.org.


The Rhinebeck Rotary Club meets on Mondays at 12:15 pm at the Beekman Arms throughout the year and is a humanitarian organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of others through various community service projects locally, nationally, and internationally. Regular club meetings typically feature speakers who cover a variety of human interest topics. For information on becoming a member, or to reserve a speaker’s spot at a meeting, please call Lou Trapani at 845-876-3088, ext. 14.