"The Office"-themed 5K in Scranton stretches its legs

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May 7—SCRANTON — An "Office"-themed 5K held Saturday demonstrated the beloved NBC sitcom that ended 10 years ago still has legs.

The second annual fun run fundraiser by the nonprofit Valley In Motion community improvement organization drew about 420 participants, up from 350 last year, as well as dozens of spectators.

The event spoofs the "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure" featured in "The Office" television show set in the Electric City at the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Co.

The show ran nine seasons, from March 24, 2005, to May 16, 2013. "The Office" Wrap Party held in Scranton in May 2013 brought the show's cast and legions of fans to town to celebrate the conclusion of the series. Since then, the show has endured through television reruns, streaming platforms and social media that have captured new generations of fans.

"We love this connection between Scranton and 'The Office,' " Valley in Motion President Gus Fahey said. "We don't take ourselves too seriously. I think that's why people in Scranton have adopted it (the show). It reflects our self-effacing humor."

Electric City Roasting Co. made a connection to the show by offering cups and samples of the firm's second "Office"-inspired coffee variety: "Roast Level Midnight." It follows "BOOM Roasted" that came out in late 2021.

T-shirts for the event declared "Valley In Motion's Office-Themed Scranton Memorial Celebrity Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Or Walk Race 2023."

As they did last year, many runners and walkers dressed like characters from the show.

Two superfans came from as far away as Idaho and North Carolina.

Tracy Williams flew in from Grangeville, Idaho, to walk in the 5K dressed as Mose, the neckbearded cousin of Dwight Schrute. Her trip required three flights over the course of a day, going from Idaho to Seattle, then to Chicago O'Hare International Airport, and ending at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Williams is on a personal mission to attend 5K fun runs in all 50 states and the "Office 5K" was her 14th. In her first visit to Pennsylvania, Williams arrived Thursday and spent Friday checking out Scranton.

"I love it. The town is beautiful and all of the buildings are old and beautiful," Williams said, noting she's off to a 5K in Maryland on Sunday. "I've done a lot of fun runs in the past and I like to travel, so I just put them together."

Several participants were return runners.

Tim Nowakowski of Factoryville, who last year won the inaugural 5K in costume as Dwight Schrute, this year branched out on the Schrute family tree and ran as Mose.

"I just get a kick out of the Schrute family, the Schrute farm, beets and all that. I have some relatives that look like Mose, too," Nowakowski said.

Nowakowski bested his winning time last year but finished in second place this year.

Nate Skrutski of Archbald won this year's race.

Erin Kosisky of Wilkes-Barre last year dressed as Dwight Schrute, and with a mask accessory, a reference to the CPR-training episode that had Dwight knifing off a mannequin's face and wearing it. This year, Kosisky dressed as a diminutive "Kevin Malone" and ran with a large stainless steel pot with some chili in it. Unlike dimwitted Kevin, Kosisky did not spill a drop.

"I love a good prop. I love getting dressed up. You've got to commit to the bit," Kosisky said. "How am I going to one-up this next year, though?"

emailto:Contact the writer: jlockwood@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5185; @jlockwoodTT on Twitter.