Steamtown Marathon

Jennifer Baron, Staff Writer

About 45 miles north of Wilkes University, in the small town of Forest City, the Steamtown Marathon, which has taken place since 1996, begins at Forest City Regional.

On Sunday, October. 12th, the 19th Annual race occurred. The 26.2-mile marathon begins at the school and travels to Courthouse Square in Scranton. All the proceeds from the marathon benefit the children and residents of St. Joseph’s Center in Scranton. The marathon is responsible for donating over $1.1 million since 1996.

A survey from runnersworld.com was completed by 7,980 runners, which asked them to rank what they felt was the best overall marathon in the world. Steamtown came in 6th place on that list, right behind The Boston Marathon. In this year’s Steamtown Marathon, the 3,000 runners who participated traveled from 47 states and 6 countries.

Lauren Pantzar a Wilkes class of 2007 graduate participated in the race.

Pantzar was a Pharmaceutical Sciences major at Wilkes and she was one of two people in the first graduating class for that major.

I will forever be grateful to Dr. Kibbe and Dr. Jacobs from the Pharmacy school for giving me the opportunities they presented me with,” Pantzar said.

She is now employed at ThermoFisher Scientific. While at Wilkes, Pantzar played basketball, however, she realized that she needed to spend time on academics.

After not playing basketball at Wilkes, I felt the need to continue my competitive nature and stay in shape,” Pantzar explained.

This year was Pantzar’s second time running in the Steamtown Marathon, but she has also ran in the Pittsburgh Marathon and many half marathons in Disney, St. Louis, Washington D.C. and the Finger Lakes.

My favorite thing about the Steamtown marathon is the small town aspect. The start line is right where I went to high school and about a mile away from where I grew up. It is great coming back to my hometown and being able to run a Boston qualifying marathon. Compared to a huge race like the Pittsburgh marathon where there can be close to 30,000 runners, it is great being 1 of about only 2,200 runners for the Steamtown Marathon. I am able to look around at the start line and see people I went to high school with or played sports with.”

Pantzar recognized that “the volunteers and fans for the Steamtown Marathon make the event so memorable,” noting that because of the small volume of runners, family and friends are able to come to the event.
“That is something not easily done with other large races where runners feel like a small fish in a huge ocean. I am very proud of where I come from and being able to show that pride by participating in the Steamtown marathon is such a blessing – it makes all the aches and pains from all the training runs worth it,” Pantzar said.

Mr. Ed Osburn, the starting line coordinator for the marathon and employee of Forest City Regional, weighed in on the marathon and the children at St. Joseph’s Center which Osburn is very passionate about as they provide services to individuals diagnosed with a disability, developmental delay, pregnant women, couples trying to adopt, and people requiring outpatient therapy.

The thing is, we all have our issues, just as the high school students do, but I think it should be a graduation requirement for students to spend one day with those children down at St Joseph’s. They’d have no issues if they spent one day down there to see what those kids go through,” Osburn said.

The results of this year’s race showed that there were 2,184 people in total who finished the race ranging from the shortest time of 2:22:37 to the longest time of 8:05:00. Lauren Pantzar finished in 4:04:46. She came in 41st out of 112 for her age group and 1,126 out of 2,184 overall.