Pittston Tomato Festival: Miles for Michael 5K and Fun Walk set for Aug. 18

By Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com
Here’s a scene from the first Pittston Tomato Festival 5K run in 1999. - Sunday Dispatch file photos
Chris McCabe finishes the Miles for Michael 5K Run for the male division before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival. - Sunday Dispatch file photos
Runners begin the Miles for Michael 5K Run before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival. - Sunday Dispatch file photos
Jenny Swiderski-Yanick finishes first for the female group during the Miles for Michael 5K Run before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival. - - Sunday Dispatch file photos

Pittston City’s Main Street has a knack for hosting some of the area’s best run/walks, and Miles for Michael is no exception.

The 20th Annual Miles for Michael/Pittston Tomato Festival 5K run will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 in downtown Pittston. The run is 3.1 miles, but if you’re not a runner, don’t worry. A Fun Walk that will accompany the 5K through the streets of downtown will be 1.5 miles and won’t take on any hills.

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.

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.

The Scranton Running Company will return to help track the results of all runners.

Chris McCabe, of Wyoming, was the first place overall finisher last year with a time of 16:21 while Scranton’s Caitlin Gaughan was the first female finisher with a time of 19:03.

From each application, $4 will be donated to the Miles for Michael Fund. Last year, the run brought in $2,500 for the charity. 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 to 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 awards ceremony will be held on the Tomato Festival grounds following the race. Medals will be awarded to first-place winners 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 location as the run, will head over the bridges and up Kennedy Boulevard to the Christopher Columbus statue, finishing at the Tomato Festival grounds.

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

Here’s a scene from the first Pittston Tomato Festival 5K run in 1999.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_5K_2000CMYK-1.jpgHere’s a scene from the first Pittston Tomato Festival 5K run in 1999. Sunday Dispatch file photos

Chris McCabe finishes the Miles for Michael 5K Run for the male division before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Race2.CMYK_-1.jpgChris McCabe finishes the Miles for Michael 5K Run for the male division before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival. Sunday Dispatch file photos

Runners begin the Miles for Michael 5K Run before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Race3.CMYK_-1.jpgRunners begin the Miles for Michael 5K Run before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival. Sunday Dispatch file photos

Jenny Swiderski-Yanick finishes first for the female group during the Miles for Michael 5K Run before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Race1.CMYK_.jpgJenny Swiderski-Yanick finishes first for the female group during the Miles for Michael 5K Run before the 2017 Pittston Tomato Festival. Sunday Dispatch file photos
Miles for Michael run enters 20th year

By Jimmy Fisher

jfisher@timesleader.com

MILES FOR MICHAEL

The Miles for Michael non-profit organization is a way for family and friends to honor 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 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. He never turned away anyone who went to him for help.

It was that selflessness that led to the formation of the first Miles for Michael event held 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 Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher