Organizers of the Hamptons Marathon made their official pitch to the Southampton Village Board this week to bring the 10-year-old event from Springs to Southampton Village, although board members said they would like to tweak the proposed routes before giving final approval to the race.
In a presentation last Thursday night, December 10, Diane Weinberger and Amanda Moszkowski, who founded the Hamptons Marathon in 2007, proposed two routes, one that takes runners through only residential portions of the village, and another that includes some streets with retail stores on them.
The race, comprising both a full marathon and half-marathon, would start and end at Southampton High School, and the organizers said they have already gotten the green light from Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina to host the event there.
Ms. Weinberger and Ms. Moszkowski said they would like to move the event from East Hampton Town to Southampton Village because they have “outgrown” the Springs route as the number of participants has grown over the years. The event now averages about 2,000 runners—about 1,700 in the half-marathon, and 400 who run the full 26.2 miles.
The organizers also said in an interview earlier last week that there have been complaints from the Springs and Amagansett fire departments about traffic congestion and road closures that occur because of the race.
“We’re a really little race in the grand scheme of races, and we’ve been nominated as a bucket list race, and a top-10 marathon to run in the country,” Ms. Moszkowski told the Southampton Village Board last week.
Board members said they believed that the Hamptons Marathon would bring many benefits to local merchants and restaurateurs during the off-season, as the event is already slated for Saturday, October 1, 2016. They noted, however, that they would like to work with Ms. Weinberger and Ms. Moszkowski to create a route that creates as little disruption as possible.
“We’re always looking at the slower seasons and how to bring people out, but we don’t want to shut down all the roads,” Mayor Mark Epley said, adding that the proposed routes were “intense” and “very crowded.”
He asked, “Would there be a way to maybe stage it a little bit later [in the fall], so we can look to reduce the amount of residents here, to lessen the amount of people impacted by it?”
Ms. Weinberger said she prefers to hold the event in the early fall so that it does not get too cold for runners and spectators, but assured Mr. Epley and the rest of the board that “our whole philosophy is, ‘Leave no trace.’ We want to make our community better,” she added.
Deputy Mayor Richard Yastrzemski said he also supported the marathon but said that the Village Police Department does not have enough staff to monitor such a large-scale event. “The logistics are my only concern here … getting police, the safety to cover that,” he said.
The organizers said that when the race took place in Springs, several police departments worked together to monitor it. They added that they will pay for extra officers and any overtime.
Since its inception, the Hamptons Marathon has raised about $580,000 for local charities, and more than $250,000 has been donated to Southampton Hospital. If the race takes place in Southampton Village, the organizers said, they will donate to organizations based near the village, such as Southampton Youth Services and Human Resources of the Hamptons.
Those who came to the Village Board meeting last Thursday night to support the Hamptons Marathon said they had personally run the race themselves, and that it operates smoothly.
“Having seen what they’ve done, they do such a professional job. While we’re out there, the traffic is out there, and the runners basically stay to the side of the road,” said Barbara Gubbins of Gubbins Running Ahead, a local business that sells running shoes and attire. She said it would be a “tremendous boon” for business. “This race brings people from all over, not just out here,” she said. “They’ve had people get married, they’ve had people from out of state.”
“It’s just a wonderful event. It brings people in—it’s promoting health,” added Justin Gubbins, also of the running shop, who added that he has run and watched marathons in major cities where the events go on without a problem—“nothing negative that I’ve seen in these huge venues.”