Runners Challenged With Steep Hills And Traffic

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JACKSON TOWNSHIP -- Hundreds of people hit the pavement in the Poconos Sunday for the "Run for the Red" marathon.

Hills and curvy roads weren't the only challenges; construction on a bridge in Monroe County meant runners had to share the road with drivers.

Nearly 800 people from 26 states laced up for the Run for the Red marathon in the Poconos. But unlike the past seven years, this course was different.

"When the marathon route changes, we decided to see if there was a way to volunteer," said Forest cavalier, a volunteer.

Cavalier and his family offered runners cups of water as they passed by his home in Jackson Township.

"The course was tough. It was really tough. Even though it's net downhill, there are some really steep hills at the beginning. It beats your quads up," said Dave Berdan of Baltimore.

Along with the hills and curves, runners also had to share several roads with drivers.

"One of the bridges that our runners use as part of the course was actually going to get torn down. There was no choice in the matter. They had to maintain a contract schedule," said Jim Rienhardt, from the Red Cross of the Poconos.

PennDot officials shut down that bridge last month. The span carried route 191 in Stroud Township over Brodhead Creek, and connected Mountain Home to East Stroudsburg. The crumbling bridge was being torn down and rebuilt. PennDot said work won't be complete until next spring.

Back at the marathon, organizers stationed volunteers to direct traffic at intersections along the 26 mile course that couldn't be shut down.

The crowd at the finish line at Stroudsburg High School was a bit smaller than years past. Organizers believed fewer people signed up to run because of concerns with sharing the road with drivers. But many who crossed the finish line said they signed up again to support the Red Cross of the Poconos, as well as to get a personal best time in the Boston qualifier.

"The course is notably harder this year. But it was a great course and a good day. Even though we had a little drizzle," said Jason Macey of Scranton.

Organizers told us everyone finished the marathon safely Sunday in Monroe County.