Pittsburgh Marathon Ready To Take To The Streets On Sunday


Photo: Pittsburgh Marathon

The challenge of the Pittsburgh Marathon will be renewed for runners on Sunday, and business experts are projecting the event to pump $8.3 million dollars into the local economy. The marathon alone is credited with booking 3,300 hotel rooms.

It is going to be a busy weekend in the Steel City as it will include home games with the Pirates taking on the Toronto Blue Jays at PNC Park, and the Penguins, who are in the second round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs, dropping the puck against the New York Rangers at Consol Energy Center on Sunday night.

The starting line for the race is located on Liberty Avenue at Seventh Avenue, while the finish line is at the Boulevard of the Allies, between Stanwix Street and Commonwealth Place, near Point State Park.

The 26.2-mile course will be open for six hours, and has traditionally wound through the unique and hilly topography of the city. It will cross five different bridges and span all three rivers of Pittsburgh at least once. Among the many historic and well-known Pittsburgh neighborhoods that are along the route include the South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, East Liberty, Highland Park and Bloomfield.

Also on Sunday, there will be two additional events along the race route: a half-marathon and a marathon relay for teams.

James Kirwa is the defending men’s champion and will be attempting to win the Pittsburgh Marathon for a third time in a row. The native of Kenya cruised to victory in 2013 with a time of 2:13:37. Two of his major competitors are Gebo Burka and Negash Abebe Duki, both of Ethiopia. The men’s record for the event is held by John Kagwe, who won with a time of 2:10:24 back in 1995.

On the women’s side, Mary Akor made it to the finish line first last year in 2:37:35. Some of the other top female competitors include Clara Santucci, who ran for West Virginia University. Her best time is 2:29:54 and she will be competing against Yeshimebel Bifa of Ethiopia. The women’s record for the Pittsburgh Marathon is 2:29:50 set by Margaret Groos back in 1988.

Pittsburgh Marathon CEO Patrice Matamoros has seen the total prize purse climb to a record $47,000 dollars this year with $8,000 going to both the men’s and women’s winners. It is the largest prize purse among spring marathons after Boston on the East Coast.

The event is also about giving back as some runners and groups use the marathon for fundraising efforts. In 2014, it is projected that money raised will exceed $1 million, with 75 percent of those donations staying in the Pittsburgh region. Some of the charities being helped include the Animal Rescue League, the Lemieux Foundation, the Western PA Humane Society, Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Light of Life, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

In the past, the Pittsburgh Marathon hosted the United States Olympic Marathon Trials for men in 2000 and the U.S. Olympic Trials for women back in 1988. In addition, this event has served as the site for the United States men’s national championship three times, the National Wheelchair Championship in 1986, as well as the Olympic Marathon Trials for both Finland and Denmark in the 1980s.