SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — For the first time since 2019, the Scranton Half Marathon makes a return this weekend and runners are preparing for the races.

The 9th annual Scranton Half Marathon will return this weekend. Bill Bender II is ready to run. He stopped by the Scranton Running Company for a new pair of shoes for Sunday’s race.

“I usually come here to get my footgear and I went for a run this morning, had a little pain, and realized maybe I need a wide shoe,” said Bill Bender II, Scranton resident.

Last year’s half marathon was postponed to November. Making it its first outdoor race since 2019. A race Bender signed up for. But decided not to run because of an injury.

“I haven’t really been training per se but I’ve been running and doing some cross-training and Monday I decided, what the heck! I might as well go for it. My brothers-in-law are doing it and give it a try,” said Bender II.

“Similar crowd. 1100 runners or so on the starting line. So I think it will be a great day,” said Matthew Byrne, Race Director, Scranton Half Marathon.

Race Director, Matthew Byrne says COVID put a wrench into many outdoor activities and may take another year to rebound.

“It was a blur. There were so many races and so many events that had to pivot, switch and cancel and go virtual. It’s not what we want to do. Virtual isn’t the same thing,” said Byrne.

The 13.1 miler will start on Providence Road and race through several miles of city streets before entering the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail and finishing at Penfed Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“It’s a great course, people seemed to like it so we are excited to do it again,” Byrne stated.

“We’ll take a leap of faith and hopefully it will all work out,” said Bender II

The Scranton Half Marathon event kicks off Friday evening with an expo, that will continue on Saturday with a 5K race. Sunday is the big day for the half marathon.

Head to the half marathon’s website to learn more about start times.