Free monthly race sees beauty in Scranton, unites community for healthy living
SCRANTON — If you’ve been looking for a running buddy who can hang, you’re likely to meet your match on the third Thursday of the month. That’s when anywhere from 200 to 250 runners unite for Run Around Scranton, a free 5K race that always has an after party.
This month, Run Around Scranton will meet at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the St. John Neumann Parish Festival at Nativity Church in Scranton. And, there will be a beer tent. Despite the 21 and older beverage options, the race is open to people of all ages.
Matthew Byrne, is the owner of Scranton Running Co. and director of the race. He said the 3.1 mile endeavor is an opportunity to showcase a different part of Scranton and pay homage to small businesses.
“Scranton is a beautiful city. There’s a lot of history to take in and appreciate,” he said. “Each month, you get to know a different part of Scranton you may not have seen before, meet new people, get healthy and hang out at one of our local businesses.”
Each race usually starts and finishes at a local bar. Run Around Scranton has met at places including Andy Gavin’s, Zaleski’s and Minooka Pub.
“These are establishments that also have food. These places are not just a bar scene. That’s not the idea. No smoking is a must. We want to promote a healthy lifestyle. We’re not pushing alcohol, but people are welcome to drink,” Byrne said. “We just want a fun, social atmosphere to bring together people who enjoy running.”
The race began with 130 participants on a cold winter night in January 2013. “We’re a rain or shine event — or snow,” Byrne said. “We haven’t missed a month yet, no matter what time of year or the weather.”
Krista Lesjack, of Clarks Summit participates in the race “as often as possible” since it began. She said she’s looking forward to this month’s run, where she’ll be united with many of her friends. “I’ve made a lot of close friendships through this event,” she said.
Aside from creating friendships, Lesjack said the event brings the community together.
“I think this is a great event for the community of Scranton,” she said. “It’s making people healthier. You become a better person, because exercising brings all the good vibes out in people. It helps local businesses, too. I like how there’s a different location every month; a different course and a different place to hang out.”
Byrne noted the event wouldn’t be possible with the Scranton Police Department the Lackawanna College Cadets, who are training to be police officers, who supervise the run’s course.
And if getting in a good run and hanging out over some food and drinks doesn’t sound appealing, get this: Each participant gets a free race T-shirt.
For more information on future races, visit www.Facebook.com/RunAroundScranton.
Reach Justin Adam Brown at 570-991-6652 or on Twitter @wkdr
IF YOU GO:
What: Run Around Scranton
When: 6 p.m. Aug. 20
Where: St. John Neumann’s Parish Festival at Nativity Church, 633 Orchard St., Scranton
More info: Check out Facebook.com/RunAroundScranton for future events