Monday, May 5, 2014

RUNNERS OF STEEL

Having spent the past weekend in Pittsburgh, this Eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia-loving runner developed a new appreciation for the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Marathon.

Without a doubt, Pittsburgh has earned it's place among world-class marathons. Over 23,000 runners lined up at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday to begin the 26.2-mile trek through 13 of the city's neighborhoods. Scenic bridges, three rivers, two magnificent stadiums and enthusiastic crowd support served as perfect backdrops to a nearly perfect, 50-degree marathon morning. In all, between the marathon, half marathon, and Saturday's 5K races, over 30,000 runners enjoyed Pittsburgh Marathon's weekend.

Ethiopia's Gebo Burka Gamade smoked the course to take top honors, with a time of 2:16:30; while Clara Santucci, from Dilliner, Pennsylvania, who grew up in a one-room schoolhouse in rural West Virginia before graduating from West Virginia University, became the first American woman to win the Pittsburgh Marathon since 2009, finishing in 2:32:25.

The race was superbly organized, and police managed the difficult task of traffic control on a day when a marathon, a Major League baseball game, and National Hockey League playoff game were being held in the same general area of the city.

The folks we met at my expo seminars were terrific, and the hospitality of those we encountered in the city was unparalleled. At Market Square, my wife and I enjoyed great food at the Diamond CafĂ©, and on Saturday, we took in the festive atmosphere at The Strip, where we consumed outstanding lobster rolls at Roland's Seafood Grill.

Still nursing a torn hamstring, on race morning I cheered the crowds of runners near our hotel, and managed a gorgeous four-mile run to The Confluence, at the juncture of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers.

Pittsburgh is a great city, and it can be proud of it's world-class marathon event.

                                                                                 
Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette

Photographers surround Clara Santucci of Dilliner, Greene County, after she won the women's race at the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon