Times Leader: Wyoming Valley Run hosts group run, announces sponsor

Times Leader:  Wyoming Valley Run hosts group run, announces sponsor

REPOSTED FROM TIMES LEADER

By Joe Soprano jsoprano@timesleader.com

WILKES-BARRE — The inaugural Wyoming Valley Run is eight months away.

But that and freezing temperatures Thursday night didn’t keep dozens of runners from showing up on Public Square for a group run hosted by the event’s organizers.

The night served a dual purpose, offering runners a chance for a 4.5-mile run through Wilkes-Barre and Kingston and allowing race organizers the opportunity to introduce the event’s presenting sponsor.

“We are excited to partner with Endless Mountains Running for the area’s first 10-mile run,” said Jim Brogna, vice president, strategic partnership development at Allied Services, who will sponsor the Sept. 6 event. “Allied Services has always promoted fitness, activity and more importantly, inclusion. To that end, we expect people of all abilities to participate in this very first event: from wheelchair athletes and those with visual and physical limitations; to beginners achieving their first double-digit mile run, sub-elite and even semi-professional runners.

“Volunteers will be needed as well to help pull together a momentous event on Labor Day weekend.”

To emphasize the inclusiveness of the event, state trooper Alex Douglass and Earl Granville were on hand. Douglass was shot while helping fellow trooper Bryon Dickson, who was fatally shot by Eric Frein. He eventually had to have one of his legs amputated. Granville is a decorated war veteran who lost a leg in Afghanistan. He is running for Congress in the eighth congressional district.

The Sept. 6 race is the brain-child of Ben Robinson and is being organized by Endless Mountains Running. It will start in Pittston and primarily follow Wyoming Avenue into Wilkes-Barre.

“I was thinking of having a race in Wilkes-Barre because there hasn’t been one in a long time,” Robinson said. “I just looked at a big map and started putting things together, and thought Wyoming Avenue is the perfect flat course.

“I figured from Pittston to Wilkes-Barre is such a cool selling point that people would really enjoy the course.”

As excited as he is about September’s race, Robinson was equally thrilled with the turnout for Thursday night’s group run.

“It’s awesome,” said Robinson, who didn’t have an exact number for the turnout, but added he ran out of the 80 tickets for post-run drinks at Rodano’s he had. “I was only expecting a couple of people, but word really spread in the last week.

“It really blew up.”

Robinson wasn’t the only one happy to see the runners take to the streets of Wilkes-Barre. New Mayor George Brown, who was on hand, saw the turnout as a good sign for the city.

“You just have to look at this room,” Brown said. “You look at the faces. They are excited to be here. They are bringing something to downtown that we don’t normally have. …

“It’s just another part of the city that we are bringing back as far as vibrancy and new ideas and creating a new atmosphere for young people. I’m very happy about that. As you can see, there is a lot of excitement here tonight.”