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Hundreds of runners set to traverse the Wyoming Valley

The Wyoming Valley Run is presented by Allied Services.
Wyoming Valley Run
The Wyoming Valley Run is presented by Allied Services.

A 10-mile run has been hard to find for runners around the Wyoming Valley region - that’s why organizers of the Wyoming Valley Run say they’ve nearly hit their goal of 1,000 runners in this weekend’s inaugural race.

“It’s one of the only 10-mile runs in the area,” said board president Gareth Henderson. “It really brings together the entire Wyoming Valley.”

The race starts on Sunday morning, Sept. 3, in Pittston, and Henderson said it “basically follows Route 11,” or Wyoming Avenue, to finish on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.

Registration for the race closed on Tuesday night. Registrations and donations will benefit five charities throughout the Wyoming Valley region - Camp Freedom, The Cancer Wellness Center of NEPA, Northeast Sight Services, Shop with a Cop and the Wilkes-Barre Special Needs Playground Project.

Henderson said until now, the closest 10-mile race for runners might have been the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia. As of Tuesday, 950 people representing 12 states had signed up to run in the inaugural race.

The Wyoming Valley Run was meant to take place in 2020, but had to start with a virtual race instead during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is going to be the first in-person Wyoming Valley Run,” Henderson said.

The race is presented by Allied Services, and organizers have billed the course as NEPA’s flattest and fastest road race. Henderson said the course avoids many of the hills that other races tend to include due to local terrain.

“It’s accessible to everybody, so if we have an elite level runner who wants to go for their fastest 10-mile race, they can do that,” he said. “If we have newer runners that don’t want to take on hills yet, they just want to go the distance, we have that.”

A map of the Wyoming Valley Run course posted to Facebook.
Wyoming Valley Run
A map of the Wyoming Valley Run course posted to Facebook.

Creating the course has required collaboration with all of the municipalities between Pittston and Wilkes-Barre the runners will pass through. Henderson said they have worked with PennDOT as well to close roads or restrict lanes for race participants.

The full course starts in downtown Pittston, crosses into West Pittston, then follows Wyoming Avenue through Exeter, Wyoming, Forty Fort and Kingston before crossing the Market Street Bridge into Wilkes-Barre.

The Kingston Municipal Police Department stated Wyoming Avenue will go down to three lanes of travel from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Sunday during the race from Dennison Street in Forty Fort up to the Kingston Corners building in Kingston.

Henderson said their current registration numbers are huge for an inaugural race, and he hopes the race will grow even bigger after the runners take on this course for the first time.

“In a couple years, maybe we’ll grow bigger and bigger… and it’s going to be a fantastic thing for our charities,” he said.

A full race day schedule is available at www.thewyomingvalleyrun.com. Walkers will start at 7 a.m., hand cyclists at 7:50 a.m., and runners at 8 a.m. Once they arrive on Public Square, post-race activities run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Henderson won’t be running the course on Sunday - he’ll be up early with other volunteers helping to run shuttles from Mohegan Sun to the starting line and waiting by the finish line to help runners ending their race.

Even from the sidelines, Henderson said he is excited to see the running community of Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond out in full force.

“During COVID, a lot of races weren’t happening or a lot of races have been virtual,” he said. “So people have been really excited to come back to running as a community.”

Sarah Scinto is the local host of All Things Considered on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.