This will be my 6th year taking part of the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend. Back in 2012, this was my first half marathon. I had injured myself about 4 weeks prior and didn’t have the race I wanted. I also did everything wrong on race weekend. In all honesty though, I really had no idea what I was doing and paid for after the race. Now, 5 years later, this upcoming weekend’s race will be my 40th overall half! It’s been quite the journey getting to this point in my running life and as many other races that I have fun, the Pittsburgh Marathon always holds a special place in my heart.
As of 2015, I had participated in all of the big races for the weekend. I’ve completed 2 half marathons, 2 full marathons and 1 relay along with the 5k race they hold the day before 3 times. This year though I get to add the kids marathon! I agreed to be an “adult” to help Lauren with her niece and nephew who wanted to run the 1 mile race. This race takes place after the 5k on Saturday. Maybe next year I can team up with a friend’s toddler for the toddler race and borrow a pup for the dog walk! Hrm!
Since this weekend is one of the highlight race weekends for me, I wanted to share a few parts that I really look forward to!
1 – The expo! Seriously, I love this expo so much that I usually go 2-3 times over the weekend. I probably will only get there Friday evening and maybe pop over again on Saturday, but not even sure about that second visit this year. They always have great vendors and usually some good deals on the 2nd day that I try and take advantage of. It is a lot of time on your feet, so if you don’t care about expos, the general lay out is typically been bibs on the right, walk through everything to your left to grab your shirt and bag and you can leave without really walking around. Typically they will route you through the official Dick’s Sporting Goods store, so if you do want official race gear, grab it there.
2 – One of the best parts of the race courses is all of the neighborhoods they run through. Personally my favorite is the Northside since I am a Northsider myself, but I’ll miss running through Homewood this year since I am only doing the half. That is not one of the best neighborhood’s in Pittsburgh, but come race morning, you wouldn’t know it. They are out in full forces and set up so many of their own little water stops. They have music going, people dancing, and just have so much fun. Toward the end of Homewood, you also pass where the Steel City Greyhounds hang out and if you’re lucky and one is awake, they’ll run a few yards with you! So, for you marathoners next weekend, get excited for those miles because they bring the excitement when you need it most!
3 – Whether you’re running the 5k on Saturday or the half/full on Sunday, your course will be lined with spectators! There are hardly any points on the courses that you won’t see anyone out there cheering on the runners. If you thrive on crowd support during your race, then you won’t be disappointed! Be ready for some great signs, high fives and all the cowbell a runner requires.
4 – Last but certainly not least is the medal! One of the cool things that Pittsburgh does that most other races don’t do is that they do not reveal the medal until race weekend! I can’t remember the vendor, but if you want a peak at the medal before you run, head to the booth where they sell the frames you add you race pictures, bib and medal to and it’ll be there. The past few years it has been a similar design, so I am curious to see if they change it up a bit. Maybe they’ll go something with Black and Gold and highlight the stadiums since that is the theme? Only a few more days and well find out!
There really isn’t anything like your hometown race. This race started it all for me and was the catalyst to all of my running adventures. For me it’s not just a few hours on race day, but an entire jam packed weekend of fun and creating new memories. I hope that no matter what race you run next weekend, you get to fully enjoy everything that the Pittsburgh Marathon has to offer and