Miles for Michael Pittston Tomato Festival 5K and Fun Walk to see most of Greater Pittston


Miles for Michael run enters 18th year

By Nick Wagner - [email protected]



Then-Pittston Area senior Tara Johnson, left, andd former Pittston resident Matt Flynn captured top honors in last year’s Miles for Michael Pittsotn Tomato Festival 5K.


Tony Callaio File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch

Pennsylvania State Police troopers round the corner on Main Street and head toward the finish line during last year’s Miles for Michael Pittsotn Tomato Festival 5K.


Tony Callaio File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch

The start of last year’s Miles for Michael Pittston Tomato Festival 5K.


Tony Callaio File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch

Here’s a scene from the first Pittston Tomato Festival 5K in 1999.


Sunday Dispatch File Photo


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    MILES FOR MICHAEL

    The Miles for Michael non-profit organization is a way for family and friends of the late Michael Joyce, a resident of Duryea, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 43. Michael was president of Joyce Financial Group and was well-known across the region for his loving ways. The thousand-plus friends who attended his memorial service are a testament that his life was spent helping others and there was never one person who went to him for assistance that he turned away.

    It was that selflessness that led to the formation of the Miles for Michael Event held on Saturday, June 17, 2006. Throughout his 14-month battle with head and neck cancer, Michael never asked anything for himself, but asked his friends to provide support to other families who might not be as capable of handling the financial burdens of long-distance treatments. Although the original goal of the Miles for Michael Event was $10,000, more than $100,000 was raised.

    A large portion was given to the American Cancer Society Wyoming Valley Unit for cancer research and $50,000 went toward establishing a permanent fund within The Luzerne Foundation.

    Addressing the needs of cancer patients and their families, this fund provides support for unexpected expenses such as travel, lodging, food, gas and tolls that help families to remain with loved ones during treatment and recovery.

    Nothing wrong with a run, or stroll, through the Quality Tomato Capital of the World.

    The 18th Annual Miles for Michael/Pittston Tomato Festival 5K run will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20 in downtown Pittston. But if you’re not a runner, don’t worry.

    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.

    The event benefits Miles for Michael, a local non-profit organization that helps families battling cancer. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Greater Pittston YMCA, Main Street, Pittston.

    Race organizer Jay Duffy said last year’s event brought in around 400 people. He expects the run to be near that mark this year.

    “We’re trying to advertise it a little more this year and get more walkers out there,” he said. “If we can get to 400 that would be a good showing.”

    New to the race this year will be the help of Scranton Running Company, Duffy said. The company will help track results of all runners in the field.

    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.

    Matt Flynn, formerly of Pittston, and then-Pittston Area senior Tara Johnson won last year’s race.

    From each application, $4 will be donated to Miles for Michael Fund. Last year, the run brought in $2,500 for Miles For Michael. Runners will have full use of the YMCA facilities on the day of the race. T-shirts will be given to the first 150 entrants of the race and the first 25 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 the two-mile mark. 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.

    Participants interested in registering online can visit runsignup.com/pittstontomatofest.

    Triple Crown?

    Currently, Greater Pittston has three 5K races scheduled on the same route in the second half of the year — Tomato Festival 5K in August, Book It Through Pittston 5K by the Pittston Memorial Library in September, and Paint Pittston Pink’s 5K in October.

    Duffy said there have been talks about a “Triple Crown,” which will incorporate all three races and award a cash prize to the top finishers.

    Then-Pittston Area senior Tara Johnson, left, andd former Pittston resident Matt Flynn captured top honors in last year’s Miles for Michael Pittsotn Tomato Festival 5K.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Tomato-2015-5K-race-6.jpgThen-Pittston Area senior Tara Johnson, left, andd former Pittston resident Matt Flynn captured top honors in last year’s Miles for Michael Pittsotn Tomato Festival 5K. Tony Callaio File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch

    Pennsylvania State Police troopers round the corner on Main Street and head toward the finish line during last year’s Miles for Michael Pittsotn Tomato Festival 5K.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Tomato-2015-5K-race-4.jpgPennsylvania State Police troopers round the corner on Main Street and head toward the finish line during last year’s Miles for Michael Pittsotn Tomato Festival 5K. Tony Callaio File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch

    The start of last year’s Miles for Michael Pittston Tomato Festival 5K.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Tomato-2015-5K-race-2a.jpgThe start of last year’s Miles for Michael Pittston Tomato Festival 5K. Tony Callaio File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch

    Here’s a scene from the first Pittston Tomato Festival 5K in 1999.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_5K_2000.jpgHere’s a scene from the first Pittston Tomato Festival 5K in 1999. Sunday Dispatch File Photo
    Miles for Michael run enters 18th year

    By Nick Wagner

    [email protected]

    MILES FOR MICHAEL

    The Miles for Michael non-profit organization is a way for family and friends of the late Michael Joyce, a resident of Duryea, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 43. Michael was president of Joyce Financial Group and was well-known across the region for his loving ways. The thousand-plus friends who attended his memorial service are a testament that his life was spent helping others and there was never one person who went to him for assistance that he turned away.

    It was that selflessness that led to the formation of the Miles for Michael Event held on Saturday, June 17, 2006. Throughout his 14-month battle with head and neck cancer, Michael never asked anything for himself, but asked his friends to provide support to other families who might not be as capable of handling the financial burdens of long-distance treatments. Although the original goal of the Miles for Michael Event was $10,000, more than $100,000 was raised.

    A large portion was given to the American Cancer Society Wyoming Valley Unit for cancer research and $50,000 went toward establishing a permanent fund within The Luzerne Foundation.

    Addressing the needs of cancer patients and their families, this fund provides support for unexpected expenses such as travel, lodging, food, gas and tolls that help families to remain with loved ones during treatment and recovery.

    Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

    Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

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