The Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and Half-Marathon were held on May 3, 2015. The first weekend of May happens to be an extremely popular marathon weekend. The Pittsburgh Marathon has been on my list for a long time and I decided that 2015 would be the year that I would run in the Steel City.
Sometime last year, I applied to be an official Pittsburgh Marathon blogger and was happy to be accepted. As a blogger, I did receive free entry, a special jacket, entry to the VIP party following the marathon, and a $20 gift card from Dick’s Sporting Goods, the leading sponsor of the marathon. (I paid for everything else, including my transportation and hotels.)
In return, I wrote a number of blog posts and used social media to help promote this event. It was my pleasure. It gave me the opportunity to see the planning of a large sporting event, interact with the marathon media team and other bloggers, and experience the race weekend from a unique perspective.
I was in Atlanta on Thursday evening for the Freddie Awards, so I flew from Atlanta to Pittsburgh Friday evening. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency at Pittsburgh Airport, and traveled downtown late Saturday morning (my Uber experience was not great!).
I checked into the Hyatt Place North Shore, (which is literally next to PNC Park, where the Pirates Team plays baseball) , and walked to the expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. I admit it, I’m an expo lover! This expo did not disappoint – there were plenty of booths, some selling apparel, others promoting other races, as well as charities and local causes. The enthusiasm was contagious. Dick’s Sporting Goods, the primary sponsor of the marathon, had a large area of the convention center. Here’s an assortment of Expo photos:
Before I left the convention center, I discovered a sample sale from Boden, a British clothing company, and joyfully purchased two pretty linen dresses. Yes, I was happy.
There was no formal pasta dinner on Saturday night. I went to an Italian Restaurant near my hotel, together with a friend who also belongs to the Marathon Maniacs.
For the usual reasons ( i.e., injury, under-training and heat advisory), I opted to run the half marathon rather than the full marathon. I was invited to the VIP breakfast at the Westin. It really was a few rooms, with some food out (most of which I would not eat on a marathon morning). I tend to stay to myself on race mornings, so I just had a cup of coffee and quietly observed the others.
The marathon was a nice event. The course was well-organized – the spectators were spirited – and even the other runners were really nice.
At the split between the marathon and half marathon course, I was reminded that I’d chosen the half marathon. Thanks for rubbing it in…
This was one of my favorite signs. I love it!
This was my least favorite sign – in fact I thought it was in very poor taste:
I finished the half marathon – and was treated to some goodies, including smiley-face cookies!
The finish area was vast – there was musical entertainment by a really good band called the Delaneys. And, check this out – Dick’s Sporting Goods had set up a special area with foam rollers! Ow. Ow. Ow.
I then proceeded to the VIP area, inside the Wyndham hotel, where buffet lunch was served. There was a buffet of hot and cold food, and non-alcoholic beverages. There was a cash bar for alcohol (boo!). I was happy to see my friend Gary Allen, the race director of the Great Cranberry Island 50K, the Great Run and the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Maine, and an all-around great guy. He’s amazingly fast – I finished the half marathon in roughly the same time he finished the full marathon!
The Pittsburgh Marathon was as good as I’d heard. The hills were steep but the city really comes out and rallies the entire day. The planning and energy were great and it’s a really cool city, so I’d definitely recommend visiting Pittsburgh and running the marathon or half marathon.
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