Jermyn Woman Offers Annual Respite For Steamtown Marathon Runners.

October 4, 2018

Angela Ceccarelli keeps a list handy in the kitchen of her Bridge Street home in Jermyn, a grocery order a year in the making.

Her cursive script notes an assortment of foodstuffs that span from the sweet to the sour: Swedish fish, powdered Gatorade, oranges, bananas, pickles and more. There’s even a reminder of what not to pick up: no M&Ms.

“Those, they didn’t like so much,” Ceccarelli said.

This week is one of preparation for Ceccarelli and the other members of the 12 Mile Crew. The group sets up an unofficial aid station for runners in the Steamtown Marathon who pass by Ceccarelli’s house. Buying the items on the list is just one of the many things to accomplish before Sunday, race day.

The operation offers more than mere calories for the runners. Last year, a port-a-potty made its debut, a feature that will return for this year’s race. Band aids, Vaseline and other first aid and anti-chafing agents are also available. The group also offers humor, motivation and encouragement by cheering while holding homemade signs as runners pass by.

“At least you’re not at work,” reads one.

“Blisters are Braille 4 awesome,” reads another.

“The runners usually get a kick out of the signs,” Ceccarelli said, noting the fun can help them get their minds off the distance. “We want them to laugh and keep going.”

Offering a respite for the stream of marathoners that annually flood the area started for Ceccarelli years ago, a few miles down the road. When she lived in Archbald, the marathon route also passed in front of her home, at about the 14-mile mark. One year, as she watched participants go by, many noticed a Notre Dame shirt she wore and offered shouts of “Go Irish.” The interaction sparked the idea of offering Gatorade at the next year’s event, Ceccarelli explained.

The aid station grew from there. Runners that first year stopped for a drink or a rest on her porch stoop. Others, some with bleeding feet, asked her if she had band aids or other first aid items.

At the time, she was not a runner and didn’t know about blisters and other physical traumas the 26.2 mile distance can cause. She decided to expand to some tables with more offerings.

As the years went on, the station continued to grow. Friends and family members started to help out. Ceccarelli started keeping the list of items that were popular or unpopular or suggestions of things to add.

Ceccarelli eventually took up running herself. When she moved to Jermyn last year, the 12 Mile Crew was born. People she runs with, including her boyfriend’s daughters, Brittany and Kate Bianchi, and running group friends Mary Melisky and Ginny Snyder Ashman, all help out.

While only Brittany has run the Steamtown Marathon, experiences in half-marathons and other runs provide an understanding of what the runners might need and just how much some encouragement can help.

The runners seem to love the aid station. Some stop for pictures or selfies with the group, Ceccarelli said. Last year, one hugged her and thanked her for providing motivation, Kate said. The 12 Mile Crew stay at their stations until the last person passes through.

“When people stop here, they’re like, ‘I love you,’” Ceccarelli said. “It helps them get through.”

Contact the writer: cover@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5363; @ClaytonOver on Twitter

Fast facts

Things to know about the

23rd annual Steamtown


When: Sunday

Starting line: Forest City

Finish line: Downtown Scranton

Start time: 8 a.m.

Number of registered runners: About 1,500

Official aid stations: 14

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