“That Marathon was exhausting. I was standing and tweeting for the whole thing!” Is what I would say if I wasn’t completely impressed and inspired by the thousands of competitors who passed through Oakland today. Not only were people still running at the 12 mile marker, but they were smiling, laughing, singing, hi-fiving and having conversations. They were inspiring in their diversity. The Marathon’ers were big, small, wide and tall. Male, female and every culture represented. They all looked so happy that today was finally happening.
And the Marathon workers were just as great keeping competitors hydrated and educated. Bands were rocking and trying to keep people motivated (especially Pluto’s Fall who were rocking out hard at 7AM). Seeing one person run a long way is cool. Seeing twenty thousand is something else entirely.
Nothing about the Marathon made me give up on my life-long goal of not running as often as possible, but it did make me think about the other physical goals I’ve dreamed of accomplishing. It made me wonder what I was made of, what I could accomplish if I dedicated myself and how hard I was willing to work to achieve those goals. Thank you Marathon’ers for making me reexamine my own dreams.
I’ve never seen any part of a marathon before. So to see it for the first time and to play a vital role in its documentation was a pretty cool experience. Not nearly as cool ‘a feeling as running one, I’m sure, but cool nonetheless. If I were to run an event like this, I’m not sure how I’d feel about people taking photos of me throughout. There’s not too many people that can pull off looking good for the camera while running. But no one seemed to care, (perhaps trying to reserve energy for more important things at the moment – weird) and if they did they were pumped about it and gave me a smile or wave which made it even more inspiring. I don’t make eye contact with anything but the ground when I run, so thanks for putting up with me runners! And those that dressed up for the race was particularly enjoyable… Wonder Woman was even there!!!
I must admit that I got a little emotional about it at one point. I don’t know if it was the sweet sound of the PGH Steel Line and the flood of nostalgia of my band-geek youth that came with it, the amazing energy of the participants and onlookers, the fact that I hadn’t gotten my coffee yet this morning, thinking of Mike Bruno who was running the Marathon blindfolded in honor of his daughter, or seeing a girl at the 1/2 way point see her two biggest fans with signs and start crying herself. But it all got to me a little. And I’m ok with it. I myself, am gearing up towards two 5K’s this summer and just hope that I can make it all the way through, running. My knees, I mean time, will tell. Kudos to you all for this massive accomplishment. A special congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon, James Kirwa (also the 2012 winner – holy crap!), and Mary Akor.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers that could make this event possible. And our profound condolences to the participant of the half-marathon that passed away as he neared the end of the race. Our hearts go out to him and his family.
Nearly 22,000 runners participated in the marathon this year, either as a marathoner, half marathoner or relay runner. Although the weather has been cold, Sunday was just a great weather day. Normally, I would be running the marathon training for something. This year, although I am training for something, I decided to bike and visit as many parts of the course and tweet at each stop and cheer! Bike Pgh put a bicycle route together for the first half of the complete marathon. There was a map available and it was fairly negotiable so I didn’t have much trouble following the route as the streets were marked with blue paint and arrows.
I got down close to the start line with about 5 minutes before the start gun and met up with Alan, a complete stranger and Pitt graduate. His wife was running his first marathon and he wanted to follow her throughout the race as much as possible.
At 7am the race started!
This is where I saw the a hot dog running, but they were moving so fast I couldn’t snap a picture!
After all of the corrals started, we headed off to the Strip District. It was very crowded and there was a bunch of dancers! Was kind of tough to see much else from here so we decided to head off to the West End.
Alan finally saw his wife, but I saw someone better – the Joker!
My man was running the relay! And there he goes!
At this point, we decided to go to Carson Street and did so by crossing the Fort Pitt Bridge – yes – there is a walkway up there.
I put on my cheering game face and had lots of fun here! Alan also got to see his wife again. Here is a picture from this section of the course.
From here we went to East Carson Street. The party was on down on the South Side! The crowd support was incredible and runners were doing their best to get ready for the big climb up the Birmingham Bridge.
We made one more stop on the South Side and then decided to ride into Oakland. Alan and I met up with fellow cyclists Matt and Al, and we cheered up at Bountry Street and Fifth Avenue for a while. Matt was waiting for his wife too and so was Alan. Al was just bored for the day because his wife was out of town, so he decided to bike into the city.
After this point, the bike ride became a little tricky. We had to maneuver through the numerous closed streets and attempt to get over to the Point Breeze area. It was possible, but just too much biking to do, even climbing some stairs at CMU due to construction. At this point, I was in full force cheerleading mode. I know after 13 miles, a marathon can get tough!
Nice smile dude!
After Point Breeze we had a tough bike to the 20 mile point, but we made it. Plenty of runners were still toughing it out and we saw a lot of the same people – I was continuing to cheer them on!
Also, a cool bluegrass band was playing here and I did a little dancing!
Matt, Al, Alan and myself headed to mile 24 of the course. Runners were struggling here! We continued to cheer them on! Alan made it into the picture this time. Most of the second half of the run, the 5 hour pace group became my friends, the woman leading the group came up and met me and she was happy that we were cheering.
Runners continued to make it happened and eventually made it to here!
And then turned the corner to see the finish up ahead!
After the finish, I made it down to the celebration festival and talked to a few people about their running experience today!
Doug and Sha who both are from Pittsburgh ran the marathon for charity Paws over Pittsburgh. They loved the run and battled through a few injuries to make a marathon finish a possible. I got a chance to talk to @Moarhops who went from 10k finisher to marathon finisher! That’s just incredible!
Lastly, new @BoringPGH fan (she just heard about BoringPGH before the race!) Stacy finished her second marathon! She told me that she forgot how painful it was but was happy that she got through it. The tough winter was a challenge for her to run outside but she found a way to get it done!
All in all, it was a fun day cheering and seeing runners, whether fast or slow, finish and complete their journey in running.
Special thanks to @PghMarathon, @BikePGH, @Dicks, and the many many police and medical personnel and volunteers along with the thousands that came out and cheered that made the marathon happen today!