CARBONDALE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — On Saturday, Carbondale will play host to the 27th annual Fred Ciotti 5K run/walk. Organizers at the Greater Carbondale YMCA are preparing for the event Friday.
“Our event is going to be one of the first ones I think that will be a live event. Everything was postponed this last year or changed to a virtual 5K run,” said Jason Mackie, the executive director of the Greater Carbondale YMCA.
The race, which is held in honor of the late businessman, will help support the Carbondale YMCA’s autism support groups.
“We call our autism program the “A team””, which is older teenagers, young adults, who pretty much come and have an opportunity to socialize with each other, make friends,” explained Mackie.
“Beautiful thing to see how close they have become over the course of the programs existence,” said Kyreek Johnson, a personal trainer at the Greater Carbondale YMCA.
Participants will range in age from two years old to 80 — with all COVID guidelines in effect.
“We are still going to require everybody to have a mask in our park, where the race will take place. Once the race starts and spreads out a little bit, they can remove the mask, and run, walk, however they are going to do that,” said Mackie.
The race route includes part of the city, before moving to the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail and returning to the park. Organizers say they hope this event may be the beginning of the light at the end of the tunnel.
“This race is hopefully the first of many small steps to return back to normal or whatever the new normal looks like,” Johnson said.
“Just having an event, planned, and being able to keep it scheduled, like we planned originally, is just exciting for us to do,” said Mackie.
Runners/walkers can register for the race right up until it begins at 9 a.m.