Free weekend runs offered to train for Hambletonian

| 20 Aug 2015 | 01:44

— Runners passionate about going the distance are meeting each weekend in Goshen to train for the Hambletonian Marathon and Good Time Trotters Relay.

"These training runs help you develop the hill skills you need to run this marathon," says Patrick Legare, a writer from Montgomery who participated in the 2014 Hambletonian. "In addition, I find that running with others makes the long runs five times easier. The long runs are the most difficult part of training, but also the most necessary."

The free training runs are hosted by the Hambletonian staff. Many in training are already registered to participate in the third Hambletonian Marathon, to be held on Sunday, Oct. 18.

"They've helped me get to know the course very well," said Denise Hundeland, a postal carrier from Wurtsboro, about the training runs. "I know ahead of time when I need to speed up my pace because there's a big hill coming up where I'll be slowing down, and that's very helpful."

She also appreciates the guidance of Kathleen Rifkin, race director and a co-founder of the Hambletonian Marathon. Rifkin places water and sports drinks at the midway point and accompanies runners throughout.

"It's great to see people who didn't think they could run a marathon start training, increase their fitness and stamina through these training runs, and then feel amazing when they complete the race," said Rifkin.

Interested runners should meet at 7 a.m. at the beginning of the Heritage Trail in Goshen, at St. James Place next to Trailside Treats. This weekend's run will take place on Sunday, Aug. 21. For runs on other weekends, check the marathon's website ( or Facebook page, which will be updated every Wednesday.

Participants should bring their own drinks for the beginning and end of each run.

Marathon to benefit charitiesThe annual Hambletonian Marathon and Good Time Trotters Relay launched in 2013. It includes a full marathon (26.2 miles) and a three-leg relay race (11.5 miles. 9.8 miles, and 4.9 miles).

The figure-eight route begins on Main Street in Goshen and ends at the Goshen Historic Track.

The marathon benefits four charities: the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, the Orange County Citizen's Foundation for improvements to the Heritage Trail, the Eva Fini Fund (supporting research for Rett syndrome), and the Middletown YMCA's 2015 pool-fundraising effort.