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

By Nick Wagner - nwagner@timesleader.com | August 15th, 2015 11:27 am

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.”

Supporters applaud runners at the finish line of a previous Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_SD_Tomato-Run_10-1-.jpgSupporters applaud runners at the finish line of a previous Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run. Bill Tarutis File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch
Runners take off down Main Street in Pittston for last year’s 5K Tomato Festival Run.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_SD_Tomato-Run_1.jpgRunners take off down Main Street in Pittston for last year’s 5K Tomato Festival Run. Bill Tarutis File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch
Last year’s first-place female Caitlin Gaughan, of Scranton, crosses the finish line at the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_SD_Tomato-Run_7.jpgLast year’s first-place female Caitlin Gaughan, of Scranton, crosses the finish line at the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run. Bill Tarutis File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch
Members of the Pennsylvania State Police Honor Plattoon make their way along Main Street during the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run last year.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_SD_Tomato-Run_2-1-.jpgMembers of the Pennsylvania State Police Honor Plattoon make their way along Main Street during the Pittston Tomato Festival 5K Run last year. Bill Tarutis File Photo | For Sunday Dispatch

By Nick Wagner

nwagner@timesleader.com

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

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.


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