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Steamtown Marathon Review & Insider Race Tips

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Steamtown is a smaller race, very well organized, easy to navigate and the course winds through some beautiful trails along the Lackawanna River. It's also a challenging course and here are a few tips which may help others running this for the first time to make it the best experience possible.

The finish line of the Steamtown Marathon

Top Tips For Steamtown Marathon

➢ No throw away clothes necessary! Busses will take you to the start and you can warm up in the gym of Forest City H.S. When you are ready to take off your top layer, there are super friendly volunteers with clear bags to hold your clothes (or whatever else you want to put in this bag). Your bib number goes on this and you pick it up at the finish. This was a very pleasant surprise as I expected to get rid of these clothes at the start.

➢ Steamtown is point to point and getting to the buses at the finish is extremely simple. You also have the option to get dropped at the start which seems just as easy but I recommend taking the bus. It adds to the experience and there's an excitement in the air from all the other runners that will get you pumped up.

Steamtown course elevation map
The course elevation map. Notice the hills at the end.

➢ Although you may hear that Steamtown is a fast, downhill course, it has some up hills that despite being not that big, will feel like mountains. Especially within the last three miles of the race. Train for hills just as you would the Boston Marathon.

➢ The rails to trails are very peaceful parts of the course, but can get lonely and tough as you go on. There is also a small area of these trails that is gravel. Work on strengthening your mind just as much as your legs. Parts of this race are quieter with no crowd support and you may need to pull out some mental strategies to help you along.

➢ There is only Gatorade and water offered on this course, no gels (but plenty of locals offering food and drinks). Make sure you have all the fuel you need.

➢ Expect to lose a toenail or two (or three). By mile 14 my toe was throbbing from the downhills. Make sure you're wearing shoes with a little extra space up top to possibly help with this.

➢ Once you hit mile 26 the last .2 is downhill and feels WONDERFUL!

➢ Take some time to visit Historic Steamtown National Site in Scranton. The rail museum is free and very interesting and educational (great for kids). If you're vegan (or would like to try vegan cuisine) check out Eden Vegan Cafe on Adams Ave in Scranton. Absolutely delicious.

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