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LVEDC Participates in Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon Team Relay

By Colin McEvoy on September 13, 2016

The starting line for the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon, the largest annual fundraiser for Via of the Lehigh Valley. (courtesy photo)

The starting line for the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon, the largest annual fundraiser for Via of the Lehigh Valley. (courtesy photo)

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) took part in this year’s Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon, which brought out thousands of runners in support of providing essential services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

The largest annual fundraiser for Via of the Lehigh Valley, the Sept. 10 and 11 event brings in an average of $100,000 annually for Via and attracted thousands participants this year, including 988 who completed the marathon, 853 finishers in the half-marathon, and 187 relay teams.

LVEDC was among the relay teams to participate in the event, crossing the finish line just after the 4:21:00 mark. Participants included President and CEO Don Cunningham; Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing Matthew Turek; his wife Karen Tuerk; Director of Regional Lending Doug Warfel; and Director of Communications Colin McEvoy.

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham (center) participated in the Via Marathon's Team Relay along with Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing Matthew Tuerk (left) and Director of Communications Colin McEvoy (right).

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham (center) participated in the Via Marathon’s Team Relay along with Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing Matthew Tuerk (left) and Director of Communications Colin McEvoy (right).

“We were very happy to participate in an excellent event for an excellent cause,” Cunningham said. “We also deeply appreciate that the Via Marathon brings in a lot of the Lehigh Valley, from outside the area who stay in our hotels and restaurants, resulting in a positive economic impact for the region.”

The Via marathon is considered the third-fastest marathon in the country, and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, boasting the fourth-highest percentage of any Boston-qualifying race.

“Via of the Lehigh Valley is thrilled that the LVEDC participated in this year’s relay marathon,” said Jillian Lovejoy, Via’s Communications & Development Director. “It’s a great event with a great cause, and we truly value the support and participation of other local non-profits and businesses.”

For 64 years, the care providers at Via have worked to help children overcome developmental delays, help adults find meaningful and sustainable jobs, and provide resources and opportunities so people with disabilities may lead active and enjoyable lives in their own community.

A portion of each runner’s registration fee counts as a donation to the organization, along with corporate sponsorships and other donations. The funds raised help Via expand its services, like the new Via Student Work Experience, a program that will serve 200 high school students over the next year, or Reading Together at Home, which provides early literacy skills instruction and support to parents and children under 6 who reside in Allentown.

The men’s champion of the marathon was Ryan Place, of Cambridge, who finished at 2:33:10, according to Lovejoy. The women’s winner was Molly Rouillard, whose time was 3:07:51. The half-marathon also attracted at least one celebrity runner in Marco Andretti, an IndyCar racer and Nazareth native.

The marathon and team relay began at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown and ended at Scott Park in Easton, with stops at the Parkettes Gymnastics Training Center in Allentown; Main and Lehigh Streets in Bethlehem; Canal Park in Freemansburg; and Riverview Park in Palmer Township.

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