Annual Bernie’s Run pays tribute to late YMCA director

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — A downtown Wilkes-Barre tradition spanning more than three decades kicked off Independence Day festivities.

Bernie’s Run honors the late YMCA director Bernie Hargadon while raising money for programs at local Y’s. The race began by the Susquehanna River with hundreds of runners and walkers making their way around three miles of downtown, ending on South Main Street. Runners say it’s a great tribute to a man who believed in the future of downtown Wilkes-Barre.

“The race was Bernie’s dream. He was a huge proponent of downtown Wilkes-Barre. He thought it would be a family run, all flat, that people would to come into the city and be able to stay, because later there would be fireworks, concerts,” Mary Jane Hargadon of Wyoming said.

“I think there was well over 200 people at the race. They also did virtual too for people uncomfortable coming and it goes down by the riverfront and up through the back and ends at the square,” Paul Shaffer of West Pittston said.

The race started back in 1984 when it was called the Firecracker Run.

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