runners finish a race

The inaugural Berkshire Half Marathon will be held on the Asuwillticook Rail Trail on Oct. 9.

To bracket a running season that truly starts with the annual Steel Rail Half Marathon in May, Berkshire Running Center will host the inaugural Berkshire Half Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The race follows a similar route to the Steel Rail, but will start and finish in the same location, at the new trail head for the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Pittsfield on Crane Avenue.

The course will use the Ashuwillticook, but traffic is expected to increase in the are of the Allendale Shopping Center and Route 8 to the trail crossing in Cheshire, between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon.

According to a release from BRC, the rail trail is not closed to the public.

“Berkshire Running Center is organizing and directing the event with the assistance of the city of Pittsfield, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, County Ambulance, Lanesboro and Cheshire towns police, MEMA, along with support from the Department of Conservation and Recreation.”

Runners will take the Ashuwillticook out from Crane Avenue and travel a little over 6 1/2 miles, before turning and returning to Crane for the finish.

“The Berkshire Half Marathon, sponsored by Haddad Subaru, MountainOne and UNICO will donate a portion of proceeds back to the city of Pittsfield for the upkeep and maintenance of the new expansion of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.”

Per BRC, the race will award over 100 prizes supplied by local businesses, including a 2023 Subaru Crosstrek along with other high-end prizes drawn to random runners or walkers who complete the course in four hours.

Registration is still available at berkshirerunningcenter.com. Race bib pickup will be at Berkshire Running Center on Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.