ILION, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – It’s an annual tradition in Ilion as the school year winds down at Central Valley Academy – the running of the Mott Marathon, which will be held for the 17th time on Thursday, June 8.

The marathon began in 2006 when Central Valley Academy was still two schools – Ilion and Mohawk – and English teacher James Mott ran the Boston Marathon in just under four hours. This earned Mott some good-natured teasing from student Eric Lachacz. That ribbing became a challenge from Mott that Lachacz couldn’t beat his Boston Marathon time – three hours, 40 minutes and 37 seconds – even on the flattest surface possible, a track, while also encouraging the student to make it a charity event too. From there, the Mott Marathon was born.

The marathon has since grown exponentially from that challenge 17 years ago. Almost 300 students have completed the full marathon distance of 105 laps around the track, and the event has raised over $35,000 for charities all over the Mohawk Valley. This year, the Marathon – named the “My Best Me” Marathon — will honor the memory of Central Valley student Christopher Newtown, who passed away in October of 2021, and raise awareness for mental and holistic wellness.

It has also become a point of pride for CVA students who complete the marathon, as well as a community event for the village of Ilion. However, this edition of the Marathon will also be Mott’s last as a teacher. Mott will retire from teaching at the end of the school year, however — according to a statement from the school – he plans to run in next year’s Marathon. Lachacz will also be there, coming from Michigan to see his former teacher off into retirement.

This year’s marathon, on Thursday, June 8, will begin at 2:45 pm with the Jarvis Mile, a mile run for CVA middle schoolers. The marathon itself will begin at 3 pm, with events and live music throughout the event.

To participate in this year’s marathon, contact Mott via e-mail at Central Valley, Ilion, and Mohawk alumni are encouraged to participate. Relay teams of two to eight runners are allowed and may split up the laps, however, only two runners from each team will be allowed on the track at a time.