SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Organizers announced Monday evening on their Facebook page that this year’s 25th annual Steamtown Marathon is canceled in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Race director Bill King tells Eyewitness News that it wasn’t an easy decision to make as the marathon has not been cancelled since its inception in 1996.
“It’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be hard on that weekend especially when it’s not happening,” King said.
However concerns over the health and safety of the runners took priority.
“We’re gonna face challenges of having to put, you know hundreds, even thousands of runners, on school buses to get them up to Forest City High School. We’re not sure we’re gonna be able to use Forest City High School, we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to use Scranton High School for the expo,” King explained.
Organizers also had to look out for the health of those working behind the scenes.
“Wolunteers that work the water stops as well, who would be picking up cups and with runners saliva and things on that,” King said.
Runners who have already registered can get a refund. The profits from the marathon, ranging from $100,000 to $130,000, would normally be donated to St. Joseph’s Center. Organizers say that despite the cancellation, 40 runners have already donated $3,000 to the center.
While the donation this year won’t be nearly as much as those in years past, money will be saved on costs like prize money, t-shirts and portable toilets.
“It won’t be what we were able to do in the past but we’ll still be able to give them some donation,” King said.
King says he’s looking forward to next year’s marathon.