Runners, running fans and fitness buffs will be descending on the ArtsQuest SteelStacks campus in South Bethlehem this weekend for the Runner's World Half-Marathon and Running Festival.
The unique, first-of-its-kind event is owned and sponsored by Runner's World, a magazine published by Rodale. It is the first time Runner's World has ever operated a running event, said David Tratner, the senior director of corporate communications for Rodale’s Active Living Group.
The centerpiece of a weekend filled with events is Sunday’s half-marathon, which will take runners on a challenging course along the hilly streets of Bethlehem, through South Bethlehem, the Central Historic District and Monocacy Park, among other places.
Spectators are welcome, but motorists should be aware that there could be some delays while streets are closed for the race.
The same holds true for Saturday morning, when there will also be a 5K race, a 10K race and children’s races.
“We are asking for your patience and suggest that you give yourself additional time for delays on both Saturday and Sunday between 8:30am and 12:30pm, depending on your location,” said Tiffany Geklinsky, Bethlehem’s traffic coordinator.
More than 6,000 participants have already registered for the races and more are anticipated.
Beginning today at 3 p.m., there will also be a health and fitness expo featuring exhibitors, book signings, fitness and running seminars and autograph-signing sessions with Olympic long-distance runner Shalane Flanagan, the American record-holder in the 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
The expo will take place at PNC Plaza on First Street from 3-7 p.m. today and again from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.
The 5K race begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, taking racers on a South Bethlehem course past Lehigh University and the Sands Casino Resort before finishing at SteelStacks, near the starting point.
The 10K race begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and will take runners along the same SouthSide streets, but also cross the Philip J. Fahy Bridge, move along Main Street and through the Central Historic District.
The half-marathon course will start at the southern end of the Minsi Trail Bridge and move west along Daly Avenue and Third Street before winding past Lehigh University. Runners will then turn north on Brodhead Avenue, cross the Fahy Bridge, then go along Main Street, Schoenersville Road and through Monocacy Park before ultimately turning back south. The finish line is at SteelStacks.
For more detailed information, check the event's Website.