More than 5,050 runners and walkers participate in the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon
More than 5,050 runners and walkers participated in the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon Sept. 7 and 8 with runners from 37 states, Puerto Rico, Washington, DC, Canada and Singapore participating in the weekend of activity.
The event was made possible through the cooperation from nine local municipalities - Lower Macungie Township, Salisbury Township, City of Allentown, City of Bethlehem, Freemansburg Borough, Bethlehem Township, Palmer Township, Wilson Borough and City of Easton along with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
"It is both impressive and inspiring to see the considerable cooperation that exists from community to community to make this race happen," Lisa Walkiewicz, vice president of communication for Via of the Lehigh Valley, said.
"We saw record participation across all our events this year," Walkiewicz said. "The marathon, half marathon and team relay all sold out this year for the first time. We expect our fundraising to surpass last year and are pleased with the progress we've made over seven years, owing much to our hard working staff at Via, a very generous community, great sponsors and the best volunteers anywhere."
The Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon benefits services for children and adults with disabilities. Via works with children up to age three in their homes and daycares to address disabilities and delays. Via finds jobs in the community for adults and provides coaching and training for successful employment.
And Via helps people connect and live in their community by volunteering, participating in leisure activities, and finding or purchasing affordable, accessible housing.
Via fosters and advocates the concept of inclusion and choice within schools, neighborhoods and communities, personal relationships, and employment. Via also helps young adults transition from high school to the work force and community involvement.
It takes a lot to put together a marathon, more than any one organization can do, and the Lehigh Valley has shown how much they support Via by the outpouring of support the marathon has received, Walkiewicz said.
"More than 650 volunteers are out on the course on race day, from staffing water stations, directing runners along the course and providing medical support. The Lehigh Valley has really embraced this event and the outpouring of community support has been tremendous."
The 26.2 mile course starts at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township near Allentown and takes runners through the Lehigh Parkway to the Lehigh River Canal Towpath continuing through Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.
At the Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest and Interstate 78 course Sept. 8, 2,037 people participated in the event. Ninety percent were from outside the Lehigh Valley and 71 percent were from outside Pennsylvania. There were 270 teams and 1,350 runners.