SCHROON LAKE - A group of American soldiers will test their mettle in the 13th annual Adirondack Marathon.
More than 50 troops from Fort Drum and seven more from the United States Military Academy at West Point will run the 26.2-mile race in Schroon Lake Sept. 26.
"Eighty-seven Fort Drum soldiers have signed up to train for the Adirondack Marathon," Joel Friedman, race director said. "With deployments and duty considerations, it is anticipated that approximately 50-55 soldiers will toe the line to tackle the hilly route around Schroon Lake.
"While it is difficult to make the necessary time commitment to marathon training under the best of circumstances, it is even more mentally and physically taxing to maintain that pledge when faced with erratic hours, field duty and military uncertainties."
Friedman said the race committee will waive the entry fee for soldier and is seeking housing to assist them.
"To in some small way express the pride we feel at the sacrifices these men and women continue to make in our behalf, Adirondack Marathon Distance Festival officials have instituted a policy to waive the fee for the first 50 active duty military personnel that register ($80 per runner)," he said. "Additionally, every effort is being made to locate low-cost local housing for military entrants and their families."
The marathon is part of the Adirondack Distance Festival. The distance festival also includes 5 and 10-kilometer road races in Chestertown Saturday, Sept. 25, and a half marathon in Schroon Lake on Sunday, Sept. 26.
About 1,600 runner are expected for the two-day event.
Friedman hopes area residents will cheer on the runners.
"Come on out and show your support for these fine men and women and the over 1,000 other runners, by volunteering or cheering for them as they undertake their 26.2 mile journey," he said.
For more information people can Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online at www.adirondackmarathon.org
Past races have attracted runners from Japan, United Kingdom, Egypt, Alaska, California, Oregon and a host of other locales.
The marathon has been recommended by Runner's World magazine as one of "Eight Great Events to Kick Off the Fall Racing Season." The race was also listed in the book From Fairbanks to Boston, 50 Great U.S. Marathons as one of the top 50 races in the country. Prevention Magazine listed the Schroon race as one of the best "walker-friendly" events in the country.
The marathon, 26 miles, 385 yards, will start at 9 a.m. on Main Street in Schroon Lake. The single loop course circumnavigates Schroon Lake over challenging forest roads with lakeside views until it finishes back at the Schroon Lake town beach.
There is also a two-person marathon relay that gets under way at 9 a.m.
People who wish to walk the marathon course can get started at 7 a.m. The course will remain open until 3 p.m.
The marathoners have company over the second half of the course as the half marathoners will toe the starting line in Adirondack at 10 a.m. to race to the finish in Schroon Lake 13.1 miles later.
Marathon weekend begins on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 9:30 a.m. with 5 and 10-kilometer runs through the streets of Chestertown.
Beginning and ending at the Chester Municipal Center, Helpers Fund director Carl Lamm is hoping for more than 300 runners this year.
Individual racers as well as teams can register on Friday, Sept. 24, from 7 to 9 p.m. or Saturday morning from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at the municipal center.
Also participating will be about 500 volunteers, who will man aid stations along the courses and work the finish area.
Packet pick up for marathon and half marathon racers will be Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Schroon Lake Central School.
There will be a running expo at the same time as well as local craft vendors.
There will be a pasta dinner, open to runners and others, that night at 5:30 at Word of Life. Tickets are available at the expo and at the door.
The marathon course records are held by David Herr of Canaan, Vt., and Simone Stoeppler of Germany. Herr ran 2 hours, 35 minutes, 38 seconds in 2009, while Stoeppler ran 3:04:08 in 2004. Stoeppler has already entered this year's race.
The hand cyclist record belongs to Bill Schwarz, who rolled to a 1:45:32 mark in 2008.
The half marathon records belong to Eric Blake, who ran 1:10:43 in 2004, and Annette Acuff, who was clocked in 1:23:13 in 2007.