SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Preparations are underway for the 25th running of the Steamtown Marathon Sunday in Scranton.

Getting ready for the big race, that’s what more than a thousand runners from 35 states and five countries did Saturday at the Steamtown Marathon Expo at Scranton High School.

“I was training for it last year but then they canceled it, so I kinda went back to running a half marathon, and then this year I was pushing to do it, so this is my first one,” said Alexei Walutes from Hawley.

For the first time since 2019, the 26.2-mile race is set to step off on Sunday. It starts in Forest City and takes runners through 14 communities all the way to the finish line in downtown Scranton.

“I’m very excited and nervous because I want to play it smart, run smart, and not kill myself in the first half,” said Walutes.

Patty Phillips-Pavlock ran every Steamtown Marathon since its inception in 1996. She even has a special tattoo dedicated to her participation.

“I’ve been running since 1984 when I saw Joan Benoit, the first female to run an Olympic marathon. And I thought you know what, I could do that,” Phillips-Pavlock.

For runners like Patrick O’Malley, it’s more than just a race. He ran his own personal Steamtown marathons the last two years when they were canceled due to the pandemic.

“I thought, well I’m just gonna go up and do it the same time, same situation, and I’ve been dedicating every year even when I was alone to those that lost their lives,” O’Malley told Eyewitness News.

O’malley plans to do the same this year, wearing this commemorative t-shirt during the marathon.

“There’s a lot of people that lost family and friends, a lot of hearts are broken, and there’s a lot of healing going on, and I think we should just remember them and keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” O’Malley said.

The Steamtown Marathon kicks off tomorrow morning at 8 am at Forest City Regional High School. Proceeds from the entry fees benefit the Saint Joseph’s Center in Scranton.