The St. Luke’s Via Marathon, now a virtual event due to the coronavirus, is inviting people of all athletic stripes–from walkers and marathoners to cyclists and horseback riders–to participate and raise money to help persons with disabilities reach their full potential.
This year’s version of the St. Luke’s Via Marathon, which began July 1 and runs to Sept. 13, still invites people to complete a marathon, half marathon, team relay, 5K, 10K or walk.
But they can do the event on their own schedule, pick their course and set their own pace, including breaking down distances into segments and doing them over several days.
New this year, participants can join in by logging their distances by bicycling, horseback riding, skateboarding, roller blading or other means of non-motorized movement.
“For the past 13 years, we have seen the tremendous outpour of support from our community for the marathon,” said Lisa Walkiewicz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Via of the Lehigh Valley.
“Although we cannot be together in-person this year, we are counting on our community to ‘Go the Distance to Support People of All Abilities’ while socially distancing and staying safe.”
Via of the Lehigh Valley is a nonprofit agency that provides services for children and adults with disabilities, including skills training and employment services, in Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Bucks and Berks counties.
The St. Luke’s Via Marathon, which is a Boston Marathon qualifier, raises money for the agency. Normally, it is held over two days in September, offering a children’s race and Expo on a Saturday followed by a marathon, team relay and half marathon the next day.
The 26.2-mile marathon starts in Allentown and ends in Easton, winding through Bethlehem via the D&L Trail. Last year, 2,700 people registered to participate.
When the state restricted outdoor sporting gatherings to 250 people, the St. Luke’s Via Marathon saw a virtual event as a way to safely continue the tradition in its 14th year.
Among those participating in the Via event is Chanelle Price, an ambassador for St. Luke’s who is training to win a spot in the 800-meter run competition for the Summer Olympics, now being held in 2021.
Price, who was an Easton Area High School standout in track, is logging her miles to reach 26.2 as she does her daily training in Eugene, Ore.
“Anyone can sign up for this,” she said. “And it’s for a good cause.”
Participation is easy by logging onto ViaMarathon.org and clicking on the REGISTER or VIRTUAL EVENT DETAILS icons at the top of the website.
The registration fee for the marathon, team relay, half marathon, 10K and 5K is $30. Walking is $15. Children can sign up for free. People can also donate money directly by clicking on the FUNDRAISING HQ icon.
Registrants will receive a T-shirt and virtual bibs will be available to print online.
Because of the virtual nature of this year’s events, winners will not be named. Times will not be eligible for qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which has been moved to spring 2021.
Participants will be able to post times either through a tracking app or on their own tracking devices.
Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.