SCRANTON, Pa. — More than 1,000 runners will have to wait until next year to begin their training for the Steamtown Marathon. With the threat of COVID-19 still lingering, this will be the first time since 1998 that the route from Forest City to Scranton will have no runners.
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"We wanted to make sure we did it in time for them to really be prepared. And we basically did it the, you know, for the health safety and welfare of all of our runners on top of our volunteers as well," said Steamtown Marathon race director Bill King.
Runners come from all over the country to participate, and King said the risk was too great, despite the county moving to the yellow phase.
"Runners, especially the first 5, 6, 7 miles, they're really packed in together and breathing on each other, and we just didn't want to put anybody at risk," continued King.
Many runners had already paid their registration dues to participate. Some of the money raised gets donated to St. Joseph's Center. To date, the race has given nearly $2 million from registration fees.
"We agreed to fully refund them, but we asked if anyone was interested in donating we greatly appreciate it for St. Joe's," said King.
There are many runners who are likely disappointed they won't be running down North Washington Avenue in October, but there is one runner in particular who is finding the silver lining in all of this.
"All these people train, and now it's just gone down the tubes. I feel sorry for them, you know, a little bit help for me, but I feel sorry for them," said Tony Cerminaro of Jermyn.
Cerminaro has ran in every Steamtown Marathon since 1996. Two months ago, he had an accident and had hip surgery that would have forced him to end his streak.
"I asked the doctor I said you think in October, I'll be able to run Steamtown, the marathon. No, you may not even be able to train or nothing. How am I going to run it? I said OK, and then this happened, little plus for me," continued Cerminaro.
The 25th running of the Steamtown Marathon has been rescheduled for Sunday, October 10, 2021.