Run, Pittsburgh, Run!

Yesterday, pretty much all of the city was shut down and turned into a track for the Pittsburgh Marathon. While I am far from being a runner, this event was so exciting to watch. I have some of my close friends and roommates from undergrad to thank for me even caring about running. I've seen each of those girls get so excited about PR times and winning different races (including the first ever WVIAC Championship for SHU) that it has become hard not to get excited about watching a race, especially one that literally woke me up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday.

Pittsburgh Marathon logo
I'm no newbie to watching races come through Pittsburgh, usually though they catch me off guard while I'm walking somewhere and I'll stop to watch and cheer on the runners, but I have been waiting for the chance to see the Pittsburgh Marathon up close and personal. The starting line was exactly a block from my apartment, so bright and early I heard the thousands of people lining up and getting ready to race. Just looking out my bedroom window was exciting. Being able to see people warming up, getting pep talks from their family and then proudly walking to their starting positions, was exciting by itself.

My friends, Keith and Tim, before running the half marathon!
But I had some first time marathon friends to support so I got out there and braved the crowd to find them and wish them good luck. Right after sending them off, I easily found the perfect spot to watch the race, right next to the finish line, before the masses made their way over to that area. Waiting for the runners to come back felt like forever (actual time: about one hour) but once the first few made their way over the hill and into the downward finish of the Boulevard of the Allies, the rest started to pour in and it was so much fun just standing there and clapping and cheering for everyone as they made their way to the finish line. I have to say that my favorite moment was watching the first couple of women come back in from the half marathon because they were so, disgustingly close it was a nail bitter to the finish for them for the top five.

Seeing how many people actually participated in the race, blew my mind. I often say that the two biggest groups of people in Pittsburgh are either runners or smokers, but wow - there were people from all over the place at this race! 49 states were represented and I think 12 different countries, that's impressive! But what was really impressive to me, were the people on the sidelines. Granted most, if not all of them, came out to support someone they know and love, but everyone in the crowd cheered on everyone on the road. We all got excited to watch the first runners come across the finish line and marveled when the announcer told us that the men's winner had about a 5:30 pace per mile. We all cheered even louder when some runners looked like they just couldn't go on any further. And of course, we all awed when some parents who were running came out of the race to grab their young children from the crowd and carried them across the finish line.

I feel like that's the thing about watching a race. No matter who you're there for in the first place, you always still cheer for everyone else out there. For me, it's because I know a lot of people running are doing it for a cause they believe in and because I know I probably will never be able to run a marathon, let alone half. Having the courage to not only run the race, but train for the race is a big deal. So hats off to everyone in the crowd for supporting, but seriously congratulations to everyone who even stepped foot on the track of the city. As cheesy as it sounds, you are truly runners of steel.

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