Path of the Flood racers enjoy good weather, 'beautiful course'

·3 min read

May 28—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Path of the Flood Historic Races participants said this year's event was the ideal environment to run any distance of the course.

"Today was enjoyable," Jean-Pierre Bonasso said. "Perfect weather."

Runners were met with overcast, a slight drizzle and temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s.

This year was the third time Bonasso, of Pittsburgh, ran the Path of the Flood, which benefits the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority and Johnstown Area Heritage Association.

"It's a beautiful course," he said.

Bonasso runs a few half-marathons per year and said Johnstown's contest is one of his favorites.

Racers could choose the half-marathon 14-mile course that lined up at the Johnstown Flood National Memorial in South Fork, 8-mile path in Mineral Point or 5K challenge in East Conemuagh.

All three followed the historic path of water from the devastating 1889 Johnstown flood through the Path of the Flood trail and into the city, finishing at Peoples Natural Gas Park, 90 Johns St.

While they wound down, they could enjoy music provided by Whiskey River Panhandlers and refreshments.

Jen Le, a first-time runner from Bellevue, said the experience was great.

"It's a really good race," she said.

Caytlin Lusk, Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority program coordinator, said roughly 545 people ran the race this year.

That's along the same amount that participated in 2021.

She admitted that since the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have seen a dip in runners, but Lusk was still satisfied with the turnout.

Saturday's event kicked off the area's Cambria County Trails series of races.

That includes the Path of the Flood, the Ghost Town Trail Challenge in June, September's Jim Mayer Trail Family Fun Run and the Chernisky Ghost Town Trail-a-thon in October.

"I think what makes this one so unique is the historic aspect of it," Lusk said of Saturday's event.

Mark Voelker, who started the Path of the Flood race, said he was glad the weather held out and that the event had a good turn out.

In addition to helping get the race started, he ran the 5K this year.

"The trail is in such great condition," he said.

Brothers Joseph, 16, and Cormac Tracy, 14, of Swarthmore, agreed.

The pair had run the 5K before, but took on the half-marathon this time around.

"It was intense," Cormac Tracy said.

"Definitely a new experience," his brother added.

The teenagers ran the path with their father and appreciated the course as a whole.

"It's a little hilly," Cormac Tracy said, "but it was really beautiful."

Joseph Tracy said he was glad it leveled out after the start.

The boys' entrance was covered by the 1889 Foundation, which handles the fees for racers 17 years old and younger.

Deb Winterscheidt, the JAHA development director and race organizer, said she's heard from "so many people ... how well coordinated" the race is.

Examining the crowd listening to the music afterward, Winterscheidt said she was pleased with the event and the number of people that stuck around at PNG Park to relax.