Organizers cite uncertainty surrounding coronavirus pandemic as reason.

The 25th annual Steamtown Marathon is canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Race director Bill King made the announcement Monday evening in a press release.

King said too many unknown variables made it impossible to proceed with the race as scheduled.

“We were about at the point where we needed to incur some significant expenses and we were hesitant to do so with so much uncertainty regarding COVID-19,” King said. “Canceling the race now allows us to fully refund the runners their entry fees.”

The 26.2-mile race, which was scheduled for Oct. 11, starts in Forest City and ends at Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton. King said the committee set Oct. 10, 2021, for the 25th Steamtown Marathon.

King said more than 1,000 runners were expected in this year’s race, adding that the health and safety of the runners, volunteers, and spectators was the overriding factor in the committee’s decision.

The race utilizes Scranton High School, Forest City Regional High School, the U.S. Federal Courthouse, Lackawanna College and the Scranton Cultural Center for race-related activities. King said the likelihood those facilities would not be available would create a challenge to produce the event.

The committee is encouraged by Lackawanna County’s transition to the yellow phase of the state’s reopening plan, King said, but added that even an eventual turn to green does not guarantee the race can be held.

“The green phase still prohibits gatherings of more than 250 people,” King said.

King said the committee informed entrants of their decision to cancel the marathon, and asked runners to consider donating all or a portion of their entry fee to Saint Joseph’s Center in Scranton, a major recipient of the marathon’s charitable work. Since 1996, the marathon has donated more than $2 million to Saint Joseph’s.

“We are hoping enough runners will be generous that we can still make a nice donation,” King said.