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Steamtown Marathon

Scranton, PA

Race Dates

2017: TBD
2016: Sunday, October 9, 2016

Course Information

Profile: Downhill
Type: Point to Point
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 53°F (11°C)
Average High: 64°F (17°C)
Average Low: 43° F (6°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 101.22
Course Score: 101.22

Race Size

2016: 1,712 Finishers
2015: 2,229 Finishers
2014: 2,185 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2016: 20.7%
2015: 19.6%
2014: 19.3%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

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Course Description

The Steamtown Marathon course may be downhill and fast, but runners should be cautious about going out too fast in the early downhill miles. There are three hills in the last 3 miles that can be difficult if the early miles were too aggressive and fatigued your quads.

The marathon course features a full net elevation drop of 970 feet. It has been a popular Fall destination for runners seeking PRs and BQs.

Marathon Rankings

The Steamtown Marathon was the 43rd largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 48th largest in 2014.

This year 20.7% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 19.6% of runners qualified for Boston in 2015.

This gives the Steamtown Marathon the 41st highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 30th highest percentage so far in 2016.

Its Course Score of 101.22 ranks it as the 16th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 2nd fastest course in Pennsylvania.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are within the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Steamtown Marathon a PR Score of 101.22. This PR Score ranks it as the 16th fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 2nd fastest in Pennsylvania.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 1690 feet (515m)
Min Elevation: 722 feet (220m)


Ratings & Reviews for the Steamtown Marathon

4.1666666666667 Stars from 6 Reviews

review of 2015 Steamtown Marathon.   

2 / 5 Stars


If you're looking for a PR or BQ time and think this is ideal because of the decline, be warned, you will have to prepare intensely for the downhill. I have run similar profiles (Run for the Red most recently) with much success but this course chewed me up and spit me out. The downhill destroyed my quads by the halfway point and eventually that took its toll on the rest of me. It wasn't going out too fast or lack of training runs but rather a lack of quad strengthening before this race. If you decide to do it (there's a lot to like about this race if you like small town races - the director is organized and hilarious, the course is great for family to spectate on and see you at several points, you have a gym to stay in before the start, etc. etc. etc.) you MUST spend time building up your quads to withstand this downhill.

Race Tips

Train on downhills AND do quad specific strengthening prior to this race to withstand the decline in the course.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2015 Steamtown Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Overall "A" grade - weather is usually ideal for marathon running. Foliage beautiful. Support from the locals outstanding. Well organized for a smaller marathon.

Did not care for the part of the Rails to Trails section that was on soft ground. Yes, your knees and legs got a slight break from the pavement, but the unevenness and jagged rocks and sticks sometimes got you right in the foot when you landed.

Race Tips

This was my first marathon. The course is deceptive as others note. The downhills are not necessarily your friends. I think other race organizers do a bit of "smoothing" on the elevation profile, but if you look at the elevation profile on Steamtown's web site, you would think there is not a single uphill until the final 3 miles. Take a peek at other sites offering elevation profiles - there are plenty of small, short uphills - just not as daunting as the ones in the final stretch. But every hill counts when you're taking 30,000+ steps.

EVERY site, review, and discussion about Steamtown tells you to be conservative and treat the first 8 miles as your warmup. Then go race. How people did not know about that or ignored it (and wonder why they bonked) I have no idea.

You do not need special quad strength training to do Steamtown. You need to train and race smart. And I'm a guy who didn't log insane weeks of mileage (most weeks between 25-40). I didn't train exclusively on flat terrain, but I didn't seek out "hill training" either. I had no problem last weekend. I listened to the advice to chill out in the beginning and save energy. I never needed to walk on the course. I wasn't pushing for an elite time, so maybe my perspective isn't as helpful.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2015 Steamtown Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Fast course, great support, logistics, crowds

Race Tips

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

review of 2014 Steamtown Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


This is a really well run marathon. The event has a very enjoyable small town feel including several nice elements like a great after race pasta party, race walk-thru and lots of spectators. The course did not seem that fast, but is deceptively so. A PR is very possible.

Race Tips

Early downhill miles need to be run conservatively. Rails to trails section is fun as the narrow trail has plenty of cheering onlookers on both sides.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Very easy to get to race if driving.

review of 2011 Steamtown Marathon.   

4 / 5 Stars


Well run, small town feel. Love how the towns along the way (it is a point to point race) welcome the runners. Staying warm in HS gym before race was nice and the HS students there were super supportive.

Race Tips

Lot's of downhill early. Be cautious or you will thrash your thighs. Three hills the last 5K which can really hurt if you went out tot hard. Nice few miles in the middle on a soft trail. Give your legs a break from the pounding.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

The shuttle system to the start worked great for me (I did get there nice and early).

review of 2010 Steamtown Marathon.   

4 / 5 Stars


This is a great marathon, but don't think that just because the elevation profile is downhill that it is fast. I had the worst of my four marathons at this race. It is a well organized race with lots of people and local bands cheering along the way.

Race Tips

I really blew late in this race. I made the mistake of going out really fast on the downhill part of the race. The first six miles are really steep downhill. By the time I hit 17 miles, my legs were cramping bad. The last part of the race is really kind of hilly. If I was going to run this race again, I'd go out a lot slower and control myself down the hills.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Steamtown Marathon in 4:59:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.