Nothing wrong with a run, or stroll, through the Quality Tomato Capital of the World.
The 17th Annual Miles for Michael Pittston Tomato Festival 5K run will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22 in downtown Pittston. But if you’re not a runner, don’t worry.
For the first time, a Fun Walk will accompany the 5K through the streets of downtown Pittston. The walk will be 1.5 miles and won’t take on the hills of downtown.
Race coordinator and the Tomato Festival committee used Barb Sciandra’s template for the Fun Walk from her Paint Pittston Pink race last October.
“We wanted to get older (and) younger people involved,” Duffy said. “Running up hills is brutal. We go over both bridges and finish at the festival ground. It’s flat and great for walkers.”
The event benefits Miles for Michael, a local non-profit organization that helps families battling cancer. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Greater Pittston YMCA, Main Street, Pittston. Participants can also register by logging onto raceroster.com and searching for Miles for Michael.
Cost to run is $30, while a walker pays $15.
The run course is relatively flat with moderate hills. A 5K loop around the perimeter of Pittston includes running over the Water Street and Fort Jenkins bridges. Streets will be traffic controlled and miles will be marked. The course begins just north of William and North Main streets and ends at the Tomato Festival grounds on South Main Street.
Two-time defending champions Mike Flynn, of Media and formerly of Pittston, and Caitlin Gaughan, of Scranton, successfully defended their crowns at the 16th running of the 5K. Last year’s run was slowed a bit by a light rainfall.
From each application, $4 will be donated to Miles for Michael Fund. Runners will have full use of the YMCA facilities on the day of the race. Long-sleeve T-shirts will be given to the first 150 entrants of the race and the first 30 walkers to register.
Trophies will be awarded to the top three male and female runners. A split time will be provided at one mile with a water station at two miles. An award ceremony will be held on the Tomato Festival grounds following the race. Medals will be awarded to first place in the following age categories: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-59 and 60 and older.
The walk will begin from the same spot as the run. It will head over the bridges and up Kennedy Boulevard to the Columbus Statue. It will finish at the Tomato Festival grounds.
A total of 300 participants enjoyed last year’s race and many stayed after the race to enjoy the festival. This year, Duffy hopes to reach 400 participants with the inclusion of the Fun Walk.
“Hopefully, this brings more people around,” he said. “We thought it would be a great idea to incorporate more people.”
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick