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