Half Marathon Scheduled to Celebrate Flood's 125th Anniversary

JOHNSTOWN – The Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA) has opened online registration for the Path of the Flood Historic Half Marathon & 5K as part of events planned to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Johnstown flood. The race is set for June 1, 2014, and registration deadline is April 30.


Race fees are $50 for half-marathon participants, and $25 for 5K participants.  Children and teenagers 18 years and younger may participate in the 5K free of charge. The link to register is available  on www.active.com, and may also be accessed at www.johnstown125.com. A Facebook Page has also been set up for the event.


Mark Voelker, a local runner, is volunteering to help organize the event.


 Path of the Flood Historic Half Marathon participants will be challenged by a rolling hybrid road/gravel trail course that follows the Conemaugh River, offering expansive views of the gorge and showcasing newly completed portions of the trail. Runners will also pass through the National Park Service’s Staple Bend Tunnel, the first railroad tunnel constructed in the United States.  


The finish line is at Peoples Natural Gas Park, which is adjacent to the Stone Bridge. The bridge played a key role in the disaster, blocking flood debris that later caught fire.


The 5K course runs along the last 3.1 miles of the flood’s  path, on the same route as the half marathon. This route begins in Franklin Borough and will remain on roads to the finish at Peoples Natural Gas Park.


Runners are asked to wear blue or green, the colors of water, in keeping with the race’s theme.


Event schedule and times are as follows:


  • April 30 – registration concludes
  • May 30 - 31, 2014: Packet Pick Up, Times and location TBD
  • June 1, 2014:
    • 7:30 a.m. Bus loading Commences
    • 9:00 a.m. Half Marathon and 5K Start
    • 10:00 a.m. Post Race Celebration commences at Peoples Natural Gas Park. Award ceremony to follow as soon as results are compiled.



About the Commemoration

The National Park Service are leading a group of community businesses and organizations to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Johnstown flood. A full slate of special events will be presented at a variety of venues, including the Johnstown Flood Museum, Peoples Natural Gas Park, and Johnstown Flood National Memorial.


The majority of commemorative events are scheduled for the weekend of Friday, May 30 through Sunday, June 1, kicking off the summer of special events that are regularly held in Johnstown. Highlights include a presentation of a requiem, a commemoration ceremony at the moment the flood hit Johnstown, the luminaria at the dam site, the Path of the Flood Historic Half-Marathon, and a Community Day at Peoples Natural Gas Park.


The region has seen significant investment in outdoor recreation as well, with the completion of the Path of the Flood Trail, and whitewater releases from the Quemahoning Reservoir.


The lead sponsor for the commemoration is Peoples Natural Gas. A wide variety of sponsorship opportunities are available for different events in the program, including the Path of the Flood Historic Half Marathon & 5K. Businesses that would like more information about sponsorship should contact Richard Burkert at 814-539-1889 x310.


A committee made up of representatives from the business community, media outlets, and visitor attractions has been meeting regularly to plan the commemoration, including:

·         American Red Cross, Keystone Chapter

·         Cambria County Library System

·         Community Foundation for the Alleghenies

·         Forever Broadcasting

·         The Grand Halle on Broad Street

·         Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention & Visitors Bureau

·         Johnstown Area Heritage Association

·         Johnstown Symphony Orchestra

·         National Park Service

·         The Tribune-Democrat


A website, www.johnstown125.com, has been launched with information about the commemorative events as they are planned.