Running Enthusiast Planning Half Marathon On Rail Trail

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The Adams Visitors Center will once again be the location of a festival.

Update: The half-marathon kicks off in Lanesborough on Sunday, May 19, at about 9:30 a.m. with a loop and half around the mall before runners head north to Adams.

The finish will include awards, music, food and Steel Rail Pale Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company at the Adams Visitors Center. Organizers expect to donate more than $7,000 toward rail trail improvements and maintenance.

ADAMS, Mass. — The scenic Ashuwillticook Rail Trail could soon be the host of a half marathon that attracts runners from all over.

Berkshire Running Center owner Kent Lemme has teamed up with Berkshire Brewing Co. to put on the first Steel Rail Half Marathon this coming May.

The race is set to begin at the Berkshire Mall and end at the Adams Visitors Center with a celebration featuring bands, food and beer.

"It's all planned. I've gotten at least verbal approvals from all parties involved and I am just waiting on a few more written approvals," Lemme said on Thursday.

The money raised will be donated to maintenance and expansion of the trail. Lemme said he will be talking with the state to ensure any money donated will be used to expand the trail. If not, the money will be donated to one of the groups working on the expansion.

The course, which Lemme will be getting certified, will include one and a half loops around the mall,  then onto the trail and ending at the Visitors Center. The course has no hills and few turns, so it is expected to help those looking to qualify for some full marathons with their times.

"The idea is that we will separate the crowd of runners at the mall so it isn't so crowded by the time they get on the trail," Lemme said.

For the first one, Lemme is capping the number of runners at 500 to see how the facilities handle the event but he envisions it growing to attract up to 5,000.

"This has the potential to be one of the best half marathons," Lemme said.

Named after one of Berkshire Brewing's products, the runners will be given free samples of the beer at the end of the race. Lemme hopes other businesses will sponsor so he can offer a cash prize to winners at the award ceremony.

The celebration at the end of the race is yet to be finalized but Lemme says he pictures a "taste of Adams."

"We're still ironing out all of the details," he said.

Initially, he was planning the celebration at the mall but after visiting the Visitors Center and speaking with the Pro Adams group, which has put on festivals there, he decided Adams was a better location.

For the town, the event fits into its branding efforts. Town officials have been promoting recreational activities and Pro Adams has put on events to expand the Mount Greylock Ramble and the Thunderbolt Ski Run. The half marathon brings yet another event to the town.

The race is scheduled for Sunday, May 19, 2013, and once Lemme receives the written approval, he will be launching a website for registration.

Tags: Ashuwillticook Rail Trail,   marathon,   

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