‘Bears’ to run Adirondack Marathon

— Caution. There will be bears on the Adirondack Marathon course this fall.

For the first time in its 15-year history, the marathon will offer runners “pace bears” to help them reach their goals.

More than 1,200 runners are expected to toe the line in the half marathon, marathon and marathon relay Sunday, Sept. 25, in Schroon Lake.

The marathon and half marathon are part of the Adirondack Distance Festival. The distance festival also includes 5 and 10-kilometer road races in Chestertown Saturday, Sept. 24.

About 1,600 runner are expected for the two-day event.

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 marathon “pace bears,” experienced runners who will help guide other competitors through the course at a specific pace, get their name from the marathon’s distinctive awards — carved wooden Adirondack Bears awarded to overall winners.

Only two marathons in the New England Region offer pacer services to their participants.

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