LAKEGEORGE-The inaugural Lake George Half Marathon is expected to be an athletic and economic success.
Organizers hope to attract 500 runners and thousands of dollars to the community during the event Saturday, April 23.
"Our goal is to put on a great race while showcasing the community," explained Dean Reinke, president of the Florida-based Reinke Sports Group. "Lake George fits into out program nicely."
The Lake George Half Marathon is one of about 40 races in the United States Running Association half marathon series. The races are conducted by Reinke Sports Group, a for-profit group that promotes races nationwide.
Reinke Sports Group decided to hold a race in Lake George after its president met Tanya Brand of the Warren County Tourism Department at a convention.
Brand said Warren County is becoming increasingly popular with sporting event promoters, citing the Quebec Velo bike tour last summer, the Warrior Run at West Mountain this year and others.
"We've found many sports-oriented travelers love our area," Brand said. "We're a great destination for outdoor recreation."
Arace with 500 runners will have a significant impact on the local economy, Brand said. She noted a motorcoach tour of about 50 people brings $10,000 a day to a community.
"Our goal is to promote our area as a destination to travelers," Brand said. "The larger the group the more money they bring to the community. We hope many of the runners will spend the weekend in the area, enjoy themselves and come back again."
The Lake George Half marathon is actually three races. There will be a half marathon run of 13.1 miles beginning at 8 a.m., a 3.1-mile run/walk at 8:15 a.m. and a fun run at 9:45 a.m. All events begin and end at the Fort William Henry Hotel on Canada Street.
The half marathon course will be out-and-back north on Route 9N.
"It's a dynamite course," Reinke said. "It's right along the lake; it's beautiful. I've been assured its going to be a beautiful day."
Registration is available online at www.usrahm.com/Events/Lake_George_Half_Marathon. Entry fees are $60 for the half marathon, $25 for the 5K and $10 for the fun run. There will be no race day registration. Half marathoners will receive a tech shirt and 5K runners a T-shirt. Runners will also receive goodie bags.
Following the races there will be a post-race party and awards ceremonies.
"We want this to be a fun, positive experience for everyone," Reinke said. "We'll have a post-race party with a live band and food."
There were 260 runners from 18 states registered April 4. Reinke expects the race to have a field of about 500 when the gun is fired April 23.
"I think 500 runners would be a very good first year," he said. "We have the intention to make this an annual event. We feel it's a race we can keep growing. I can see the race having 700-800 runners next year. We could reach as many as 2,000 in the future."
Reinke said bringing an event to Lake George has personal significance. Reinke, himself a national-class runner, was friends with the late Barry Brown of Bolton, a world class runner in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. He died in 1992.
"Barry was always asking me to come to the area to run with him," Reinke said. "Sadly, I never did. I can see why he loved it there so much."
Denton Publication is official media sponsor of the Lake George Half Marathon.