Pittsburgh is more than a home to black-and-gold clad sports teams and nearly 450 bridges. It has now become home to one of the fastest growing marathons in the country. The Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon touts a dynamic course full of downtown and river-front scenery, small-town charm and rich community support—all of which will give runners a one-of-a-kind tour of the Steel City.
Falling on Cinco de Mayo—May 5, 2013—the race offers a relatively flat course, unique post-race fiesta, delectable cookies, and the chance for runners to be titled as runners of steel.
Race director Patrice Matamoros shares her insight about the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, and why runners should make a trip out to the western-Pennsylvania town.
Running Events Near You
More: 10 Top Marathon Tips
When was the race originally started?
Patrice Matamoros: We have kind of an interesting history. The race was started in 1985 as the Pittsburgh Marathon; however, 2003 was the last marathon. In 2003 the title sponsor did not renew its commitment and the city went into bankruptcy, so the marathon did not run for nearly six years.
Dick's Sporting Goods came on board in 2009, we put together a team of people and we've been working on it ever since.
How has the race grown since its rebirth?
When we were planning the race in 2009, we had no idea what to expect. When we reached 5,000 runners, we put a cap at 7,500 because we only had enough supplies for 7,500. Once we announced there was a cap, we basically sold out in 36 hours, but ended up taking 10,000 runners—through half marathon, full marathon and a relay.
This year, we'll be expecting about 30,000 runners.
Why should runners participate?
I think it's the communities in Pittsburgh. The communities that we run through have phenomenal crowd support and each community has a different flavor. So, it's really a great comprehensive tour of the city that a runner could get. We also really focus on entertainment on the course and we have over 60 bands. We try to make everything really fun for runners going through their 26 miles. It's a lot of work and we try to take their minds off that work.
The number 5 seems to play a major role this year in the overall theme. What's the significance?
Well, we've been doing this for five years since we've come back, and we have five bridges. The race is on the fifth day of the fifth month of the year and we will hopefully clear raising 5 million dollars for charity since we've come back this year. We even have five races: 5K, kids marathon, half marathon, marathon and marathon relay.
We are also going to definitely incorporate things of Cinco de Mayo. We're going to have mariachi bands, and we're looking at providing sombreros for the leaders. We're going to really celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year.
More: 4 Valuable Marathon Tips