The End Zone Seat: Flood Didn't Dampen Camptown's Big Day
On Wednesday, Sept. 7, the village of Camptown was hit by major small-stream flooding.
As the brown, murky water swirled about, it seemed unlikely that the town’s biggest event of the year—the annual Camptown Races—would be held.
Now well into its 40s, the 10-kilometer race and the festivities that surround it each September commemorate the legacy of former Bradford County resident Stephen Foster and his song about a certain famous five-mile horse race.
After witnessing the effects of the flooding, the event organizers decided that the festivities, slated for Saturday, Sept. 17, just 10 days after the storm, would have to be dropped this year.
However, thanks to race directors Mike and Rachel Murphy and a pair of Wyalusing Valley High School seniors, the race went on.
After running the course, which includes a treacherous second half of trail from Merryall back to Camptown, the Murphys announced that the course was safe to run on, at least as safe as any Camptown Race has been.
With the help of Tyler Thompson and Adam Brigham, who used the race as their senior projects, Saturday’s race was a success.
The field was the smallest in memory and likely all time with just 37 runners finishing the course. The flooding that devastated the Susquehanna River basin from Binghamton to Tunkhannock on Sept. 7-9 likely was the reason for the small field.
There were many familiar faces not present, but one new face was glad she made the trip from Little Meadows to compete at Camptown for the first time.
Ariana Rife won the overall female title, which was certainly a plus, but it wasn’t her main reason for running.
“I came down to support the race,” she said. “After the devastation, I thought it was important for the community to have a lot of participation in this.”
Thompson, who has helped out in the past with the race, was glad to have kept it alive.
“It’s important that we did it and didn’t bail after the flood,” Thompson said.
Even though the course survived heavy damage, there was still a lot of work to do to get it ready.
“Most of the work was on the trail,” Brigham explained. “We did some of the meetings and organizational things but most of the time was on the trail, clearing it of debris, weed whacking. There was a lot of work to do especially after the flood.”
Thompson hopes to continue his involvement with the race after his project is completed.
“I helped out with it for the past two years and wanted to become a bigger part of it,” he said. “I wanted to learn how to do timing and stuff to help out in years to come.
“We are going to do everything we can to get this to run every year.”