SCRANTON -- Eager runners packed into the former Ice Box on Olive Street to pick up race packets for the first ever half marathon in Scranton.
Many of the 2,800 registered participants are running the half marathon for the very first time.
“I thought, 'why not try the inaugural half marathon,' and it was a really big goal for me to do and to train all winter long, and it was hard,” said Amy Betts of Scranton. “But I`m excited, really excited for Sunday.”
“I have not run anything farther than a 5k so I`m hoping to finish, and I`m very excited,” said Donna Valentini of Peckville. “I think it`s wonderful, I think it`s great for the area and I`m very excited.”
The half marathon's course runs through 13.1 miles of the Electric City which starts and ends on Providence Road near Scranton High School.
Nearly half of the race will take place along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, which was very important to the event's organizer.
Proceeds from the race will go to the continued development of the trail.
“People don`t even know there`s a river downtown and there is, it`s a beautiful river. It`s cleaned up, and it`s a natural resource, and we need to preserve it,” said race organizer Matt Byrne, who owns the Scranton Running Company on Olive Street.
For the businesses along Providence Road, this event is a big deal.
The Glider Diner already has tents up and is planning to sell all kinds of food on race day.
“From ice cream to pizza to wings, french fries, sausage and peppers, french dip,” said Charlie LeStrange, Glider Diner owner.
“I’m notorious for loving to be involved in situations, like things where hospitality groups get together and promoted the area that we`re in, so I`m excited for it,” said Michael Stalter, owner of Stalter’s Café.
For many marathon fans, a half-race is something they've been wanting in Scranton for a very long time.
“To finally have a race, a half, within Scranton, to kind of compliment the full marathon in the fall I think is fantastic,” said Teddy Michael of Archbald.
For more information on the Inaugural Scranton Half Marathon click here.