Energy and excitement high for first Youngstown Marathon

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Marathon will take place this Sunday, and more than 1,000 people are signed up to run.

Runners are coming from as far as Canada and Israel to be a part of Youngstown’s first marathon. It’s an event that is expected to bring a lot of money into the city.

Jonathon Bolha from Austintown will be there on the starting line. He has run more than 75 marathons, one as far as Alaska. But now, his friends are coming to his hometown to run.

“I am really passionate about running, so having a marathon right here in my home city and getting the city fired up for running is just awesome,” Bolha said. “I have a lot of other people coming from other cities and countries to run out here with us.”

The race is set, rain or shine, but the weather isn’t something runners really care about. Storm Team 27 Forecaster Rich Morgan, who is also an avid runner, said cross-country athletes are used to anything Mother Nature has to deliver.

“These people run year round. They run in any kind of weather. In a lot of cases, weather isn’t a factor until you start to talk about heat,” Morgan said.

Watch: Runners excited for Youngstown Marathon

The forecast for Sunday has temperatures in the upper 50s at the start of the race. There is a chance of showers, but Morgan says that shouldn’t slow anyone down.

“When you are running through Mill Creek Park, it is sort of like having a natural dome over you. It may be raining, but it won’t bother you as much,” Morgan said.

Twenty miles of the race takes runners through the park, which is challenging at times.

“We have a beautiful park, but we have a park that has some challenging hills, and that is going to be in the first 13 miles that you’ll hit those challenging hills,” Morgan said.

The course then takes runners through downtown Youngstown.

Youngstown Marathon Director Courtney Poullas was busy preparing for the race on Friday. She has never organized a race before and she says a lot went into this.

Most of the work will be done early Sunday morning when teams will set up the finish line, five medical tents and mile markers. Over  5,000 gallons of water, 300 pounds of bananas and 1,700 bagels will be on hand for runners.

Boardman, Mill Creek Park and Youngstown police officers will direct traffic throughout the 26.2-mile course. If you want to attend the race, Poullas says plenty of parking will be available at starting point.

The goal for the 5k, half marathon and full marathon was to get 1,000 runners to participate.

“Our main goal was to just bring people together, local businesses, the running community and have a good time and make a difference, and I think that’s what we reached by getting that 1,000 runner goal,” Poullas said.

The Youngstown Marathon is set for Sunday, June 4. Runners will begin the 26.2-mile race at Second Sole on Route 224 in Boardman and then travel a half-mile to Mill Creek Park, through downtown Youngstown back to the finish line at Second Sole.

See the race routes and road closures below:

Youngstown Marathon map
Youngstown Marathon map
Youngstown Marathon map

The following roads will be closed to vehicles during the race, from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.:

  • Commerce Street from South Avenue to Fifth Avenue
  • Fifth Avenue from Commerce Street to the Spring Common Bridge
  • Federal Street from South Avenue to Fifth Avenue
  • The entire Spring Common Bridge
  • Mahoning Avenue from the Spring Common Bridge to West Avenue
  • The entirety of West Avenue                          
  • The entirety of Tod Avenue                                 
  • Price Road from Tod Avenue to W. Glacier Drive

Emergency vehicle traffic will be maintained.

Roads in the downtown loop will begin to reopen at 10 a.m., and the other roadways will start reopening around 1 p.m.

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