LENOX -- Final preparations are being completed for the fourth annual Memorial Day Marathon Races, with six events on Saturday and Sunday from the staging area at Tanglewood off Route 183.

"We're billing this now as the ‘toughest Marathon in the East' because of the terrain," said organizer Matt Linick, 40, whose events company, Running Away Inc., is based in Boca Raton, Fla.

"A lot of the uphills are at the end, which makes it even harder," Linick added. "That appeals to a certain category of marathoner. From what we've heard, everybody really loves the course. It's not one where you're going to do your best time on -- no way."

The course extends from Tanglewood's Lenox entrance through portions of Stockbridge and Great Barrington.

Based on advance registration, participation is up about 20 percent from last year, Linick said.

"Everyone runs for a different reason," he noted. "We do have a lot of military guys who run, and at least 100 people who run on their behalf."

Registration fees range from $90 for the full marathon down to $12 for the Kids Race.

So far, 46 percent of the 1,250 pre-registered runners are from Massachusetts, including as many as 50 Boston Marathon participants.

At least 200 runners are Berkshire County residents, including 98 from Pittsfield, 34 from Lenox, 33 from Great Barrington and 20 from Lee.

About one-third come from New York state. Runners from 30 other states have signed up, as well as several from Canada, Israel and Denmark.


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Additional security precautions are in place following meetings with local police chiefs, the state police and the Berkshire County Sheriffs Department.

"I think we have everything organized," said Linick. "That's the best any event can hope for."

In addition to the various road races and the Saturday Kids Race on the Tanglewood grounds, a five-hour SummerSounds Live concert featuring four bands from Northampton and New York City will be held on a stage set up at Tanglewood's west parking lot, beginning at noon on Sunday. Performers include Pittsfield-based Billy Keane, SkyFactor from New York City, and two Northampton acts -- Heather Maloney and Jamie Kent & The Options.

"The concert adds another dynamic, making it more of an entire-weekend event," Linick said.

In addition, the Tanglewood box office will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., selling tickets to summer concerts, said Boston Symphony marketing director Kim Noltemy. The box office opens for the full season on June 21.

Food and beverages will be sold at concessions set up by several area eateries. Gates for the concert, which is free for runners, open at 11:30.

A portion of the marathon's proceeds will benefit Team Red White & Blue, a nationwide, nonprofit support organization providing rehabilitative and fitness services for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So far, more than $20,000 has been raised for the organization.

The event also benefits OneFund Boston, which aids victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and their families. "Boston Strong" bracelets at $5 will be sold at Tanglewood; Berkshire Bank will match the proceeds up to $10,000.

"Hopefully, we'll get close to $20,000 for them as well," Linick said. "We wanted to do something for the Boston victims without taking away from the military, because that's our primary cause and will continue to be."

Since the Memorial Day Marathon started in 2010, participation has more than doubled from the first year's 680 runners.

"We have more involvement by local businesses and definitely more people are staying at hotels," said Linick.

"I think anything that brings people to the town to enjoy themselves has a very good business impact," said Ralph Petillo, executive director of the Lenox Chamber of Commerce. "It's all positive right down the line, and it will bring more business to town one way or another, especially in the food and lodging area."

The following races are part of the fourth annual Memorial Day Marathon. All activities are based at Tanglewood.

Saturday:

8 a.m.: Trail Race (15K). Registration: Today, 4-6 p.m. at the Arcadian Shop, 91 Pittsfield Road, Lenox (Routes 7 & 20) or Saturday, 7-7:45 a.m. at Tanglewood.

9 a.m.: Kids Race (sponsored by Berkshire Bank). Quarter-mile loop for kids under 6, half-mile for kids 7-10, entirely on Tanglewood grounds. On-site registration: 8-8:45 a.m.

Sunday:

8 a.m.: Marathon, Half Marathon. Registration: Friday, 4-6 p.m., Arcadian Shop, 91 Pittsfield Road, Lenox (Routes 7 & 20). Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Tanglewood. Note: Route 183 from Glendale Middle Road in Stockbridge to the Tanglewood main gate entrance will be closed to northbound traffic from 8 to 9 a.m.

9:30 a.m.: 10K, 5K races. On-site registration: Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 6:45-7:45 and 8:15-9:15 a.m.

Noon: SummerSound Live concert, Tanglewood west parking lot (off Route 183), featuring four bands from Northampton and New York City. Food and drink from Wandering Star Craft Brewing Co., Angelina's Sub Shop, Naji's, Complements Food Truck from Boston and The Scoop in Lenox. Concert tickets for non-runners are $12 at www.summer

soundlive.com, $10 at the Arcadian Shop or on site Sunday.

Information: www.memorialdaymarathon.com.

To contact Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@yahoo.com or
(413) 637-2551.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto