Five Reasons to Run the Pittsburgh Marathon

Happy Friday! This is going to be a fun weekend. Tomorrow I'm running the Spring Thaw 10-miler. I'll be running it at an easy pace as my long run. I'm excited to see many of the Pittsburgh runners who I know will also be there. It will also be a three-day weekend for me since I have off Monday.

But first let's get through Friday! As usual, I'm linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar On The Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What. I love visiting the Friday Five posts and have found so many great new blogs to follow. Please visit some of the other blogs and join us for a Friday Five!

This week it's a free theme to write about whatever we want. With just two months until Pittsburgh Marathon weekend (!), I'm posting about why I'm excited to run the half marathon.

Five Reasons to Run the Pittsburgh Full or Half Marathon

1. The neighborhoods. My first blog I started in 2010 was about exploring Pittsburgh's 90 neighborhoods. I didn't keep up the blog, but my husband and I have spent a lot of time in our 16 years living in the city exploring the different neighborhoods. Even though we are both from the Pittsburgh area, there are so many neighborhoods with different personalities that are so much fun to explore. I love the neighborhoods so much that in my previous job I worked in community development to help grow the Lawrenceville neighborhood. It's very hip and happening now, but my awesome coworkers (and good friends) and I laid much of that groundwork by completing projects like the branding that is still on the signage (and garbage cans!) throughout the neighborhood, the improved stoplights at the Doughboy Square intersection, and supporting hundreds of new businesses in moving to the neighborhood and growing. The half marathon course goes through many neighborhoods, and the full marathon goes through 13 of them. I am so excited to explore the neighborhoods in a whole different way--in a race! Whether you live in Pittsburgh or have never been here, the neighborhoods are sure to be a course highlight.
Pennsylvania ~ Pittsburgh Deutschtown
One of the Northside neighborhoods the course goes through.
Photo by e r j k p r u n c z y k

2. The crowd support. Because I've never ran this race, I speak from my experience as a spectator. Pittsburghers love this race and love cheering on the runners. Even before I was a runner, I loved going somewhere along the course and cheering. I keep hearing from everyone running how there is crowd support the entire course. My running buddy Amanda told me that the crowds are so loud, she didn't listen to music because it was hard to hear over the crowds! I've heard others say you feel like a rock star all through the course. Because I've only run long races on trails, which obviously have little crowd support, this will be a completely new experience.

3. The rivers and bridges. Pittsburgh is known for its three rivers that form a triangle around its Downtown. The course goes back and forth over the rivers via five different beautiful, architectural bridges. I've read many recaps from people not from Pittsburgh who loved running across the different bridges. If you're running the race, be prepared that while not hills, these bridges do have inclines. But I think it will be a great way to add a bit of a challenge to a mostly flat course.
The 7th Street Bridge, part of the race course.
Photo by my husband, David Kent.

4. The marathon weekend. While the full and half marathon and relay are on Sunday, May 3, the whole weekend is like a party with something for everyone. Saturday's schedule includes a 5K, kids marathon, and pet walk. Last year I ran the 5K, and it was a lot of fun with a great course. Plus, you get a cool medal! Last year I also volunteered at the marathon finish line. The entire weekend is filled with an incredible energy. Run one of the races to earn the Runner of Steel title, but non-runners can volunteer or bring their family to the kids and pets events to be part of the excitement.
The medal from the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon 5K

5. The runners. Pittsburgh has a huge, passionate, awesome running community. I'm lucky to have met so many runners and now call so many my friends through this blog and local running events. One of the most exciting things about this race is that nearly every local runner I know will be participating. Join us on race weekend! You can also start following many of them now as they train for the race. The Pittsburgh Marathon website will soon be listing its bloggers like me who will be chronicling their training. In addition to the official bloggers, Steff at Run Steff Run has links to many Pittsburgh running bloggers. Also, I am planning a series of profiles of runners using different training methods, so you'll get to meet even more runners. Stay tuned for that!

I'm excited to earn my Runner of Steel medal on May 3! #GameOnPGH!

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