Silive.com Monday, March 31, 2014 3:35PM from the SI Advance Sports Desk
It’s been years in the making, but with the help of the Staten Island Athletic Club’s fun run coordinators David Panza, Mike Garone and Brian Rowan along with assistance from the SIAC Board, local police authorities, and Assemblyman Michael Cusick, the Fun Run Marathon is now a reality. Starting this Saturday at 5:00AM and every Saturday thereafter, a weekly fun run marathon will be conducted by members of SIAC. According to SIAC club President Mark Vogt, “The fun run marathon will basically be the old 3-mile fun run course, but runners will now have to run this course 8.73 times in order to equal the number of miles required to run a regulation marathon distance”. A few club members expressed their excitement at this new course distance change. Chris Calimano, a long-time SIAC member active member of the Marathon Maniacs stated, “This is no biggie for me; I often run two marathons a week, but I have to fly to other states to run them. Having a local marathon here on the Island every Saturday will save me a lot of money”. Many runners throughout the Staten Island running community expressed trepidation on running so many miles every Saturday morning starting at the ungodly hour of 5:00AM. When told about this new weekly fun run marathon distance being held at Clove Lakes Park as a replacement for the traditional 3-mile fun run, long-time SIAC club member Mario Ricca, Jr. responded, “Are you nuts!?”.
In order to compensate for the increase in so many more miles on a course that was only three miles long for so many years, fun run marathon coordinator Dave Panza said that a lot more Dunkin munchkins and extra free water will be given out to those runners who complete the entire marathon distance. Panza still will be using his bullhorn, but it will be to shout at and motivate the slower runners who may not meet the four-hour cutoff time that is the new requirement for all marathons run inside public New York City parks. Those who complete the entire fun run marathon distance will not receive medals nor recognition, but their name and finish time might be added to a little blurb posted somewhere in the sports section of the Staten Island Advance.
As part of their plan to increase club membership and to align SIAC with future racing trends, SIAC Board members are currently discussing on having a weekly Fun Ironman Triathlon in the park where participants would have to swim 275 laps around one of the lakes in Clove Lakes Park to equal the 2.5-mile swimming distance required of a true Ironman competition. This would be in addition to running a full 26.2-mile marathon and biking a 112-mile bike race. Permits for this event are still being worked on by Staten Island Parks Department spokesman Michael Schnall. When asked about the kind of support that’s expected for such an event, Dave Panza stated, “We will definitely need more Dunkin munchkins for that one”.