Johnstown-native Stephanie Daniels is on a running streak: 493 days in a row.
Daniels recently qualified for one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, but it’s been a long and difficult journey.
“I have an amazing family who, I think part of the time, think I’m nuts,” Daniels said.
Fifteen years ago, Daniels qualified for the Boston Marathon, but she couldn’t run it because her husband got injured, then she got pregnant.
Now, the mother of five tried again last year, but missed qualifying by just two minutes.
“So, I thought I might be able to do it,” Daniels said.
Two weeks ago in the Pittsburgh Marathon, Daniels finally reached that finish line nearly two decades in the making: she qualified for the Boston Marathon.
“I qualified with an extra 9 minutes to spare. So I’m going to Boston in 2019. I’m really happy about that. After 15 years, I’m going back,” Daniels said.
Saturday, Daniels is running the 5th annual Path of the Flood Historic Races half marathon. She wants to beat her time from last year and encourage other runners along the way.
“More and more over the last couple of years as I got older, I enjoy being with the group. I enjoy the comradery,” Daniels said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to on race day. We really pull each other along.”
The races include a 5K, 12K and a half marathon. This year is the biggest yet: 925 runners are signed up.
“It really really is an opportunity to see Johnstown history and from the ground. Particularly, if you run the half marathon, you’ll get to see it from the dam site all the way along the path right down to the bridge itself,” said Mark Voelker, the race director.
The race benefits the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority and the Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA).
“It’s a scenic trip and then you come into post-industrial Johnstown, it’s kind of dramatic,” said Richard Burkert, the JAHA President and CEO.
Through the pain on race day, Voelker hopes runners take the time the appreciate the history of the path.
“As they make their way along, and as they come into town, really get a feel for the energy that the water brought and the impact it had on the city. And then take that energy that they bring with but now, being in the present time, using that positive energy for good things,” Voelker said.
You can learn more, by visiting the race website.
If you’d like to cheer on the runners, the best place is at the finish line at PNG Park in Johnstown.