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 on 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 non-profit 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, Oregon.
“Anyone can sign up for this,” she said. “And it’s for a good cause.”
Participation is easy by logging onto www.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 the post times either through a tracking app or on their own tracking devices.
Photo caption: 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.
Sam Kennedy, Corporate Communications Director, 484-526-4134, email@example.com
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 16,000 employees providing services at 12 hospitals and 300+ outpatient sites. With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 11 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the Lehigh Valley’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 38 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 347 residents and fellows. St. Luke’s is the only Lehigh Valley-based health care system to earn Medicare’s five- and four-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. St. Luke’s is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Luke’s #1 in the Lehigh Valley and #6 in the state. Two of IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals are St. Luke’s hospitals. St. Luke’s University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health eight times total and six years in a row. St. Luke’s has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program. Utilizing the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.