SCRANTON — Thousands of enthusiastic runners are pouring into Scranton, getting ready for Sunday’s 2013 Steamtown Marathon.
For some, it’s their first time seeing Scranton.
“It’s wonderful, the committee, everybody, the whole setup, it’s great we are looking forward to it, so thank you,” said John Oyler of Boca Raton, Florida.
For others it’s the perfect excuse to come home. Savannah resident, Nicole Hyatt, grew up in Dunmore.
“The weather, the leaves, the people, you don’t get a better race anywhere else other than Scranton,” said Hyatt.
Wolfgang Fritzen came all the way from Germany for the race. He will also enjoy a family reunion with after more than 200 relatives during his visit.
“I decided to come over and run, I am so happy to be here and run this marathon,” said Fritzen.
Saturday runners were greeted at an expo held at Scranton High School, including vendors with running gear, plenty of t-shirts, and a large map of the route.
Organizers said this year they allowed a record 3,000 people to register, and eliminated the waiting list. While several hundred have dropped out, they still expect this could be the biggest field in the history of the race, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,600 competitors at the start line.
The bumper crop of racers is keeping volunteers on their toes.
John McGovern is secretary of the marathon committee.
“We have to have enough buses to get the runners to the start line, and then we have to have enough medals for when they finish,” explained McGovern.
With so many racers, good luck charms are everywhere. Kim Wilson of Scranton found them while she was training.
“If I see a penny that’s heads up, I actually stop my watch, stop running and pick up the penny. I consider it a lucky penny, and I stick it in my shoe,” said Wilson.
Of course there is one pre-race tradition Scranton is the perfect place to enjoy, the pasta dinner.
“I eat a lot of pasta, my wife makes these amazing meatballs, and I just gorge on them from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and I just fall asleep, that’s my ritual,” said Chris Langley of Kingston.
The race begins at 8:00 a.m. Sunday in Forest City.