LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- Before the Steamtown Marathoners get to the finish line, they cover a lot of ground. From Forest City to Scranton, the Steamtown Marathon covers 13 communities in all.
The 21st annual Steamtown Marathon begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday. At just about the halfway point in Jermyn, the runners will have plenty of people waiting for them.
The Windsor Inn, a staple in Jermyn, will open extra early for marathon spectators. Servers spent their Friday making signs for runners from Jermyn.
"We`re fortunate enough to have the runners run right by our facility here at The Windsor Inn, Sunday morning about 9:30, we anticipate them getting here, we want to pay tribute to them," said general manager Gary Urnoski.
Race organizers say about 75% of the runners are not from northeastern Pennsylvania. It's said that Steamtown's course is one of the country's fastest.
Part of the Steamtown Marathon is run on the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Trail, which is completely paved for the first time this year. That and the hurricane-related weather expected this weekend, has runners excited.
"I think, from a runner`s standpoint, my wife is running, she`s really excited, there`s going to be a tailwind so a lot of people are looking to qualify for Boston this year," said Marathon Committee President Bill King.
King and other marathon committee members were preparing the finish line on Courthouse Square Friday. They were also preparing for an unplanned hiccup.
Saturday's Marathon Expo conflicts with a political rally at Scranton High School. The 2,400 expected runners will have company in The Electric City this weekend.
"Last year was the first year in 20 years we didn`t get one single complaint. So, who knows, if we can get through the expo the race will take care of itself," King added.
Both Saturday' Marathon Expo and the political rally with Senator Bernie Sanders are going to be held at Scranton High School. Race organizers are asking anyone attending the rally to park at The Marketplace at Steamtown and take a shuttle bus to the high school. Marathoners are welcome to park at Scranton High School.