Throwback Thursday: The Pittsburgh Marathon

 

The Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, commonly referred to as the Pittsburgh Marathon, is an annual marathon race held on the first Sunday in May. In other words…happy race weekend!

The Marathon was first announced on October 3, 1984 with U.S. Steel and PNC Bank as sponsors, and the following spring on May 5th, 1985, the first race was held. From 1985 to 2003, the race was held annually and named the UPMC/City of Pittsburgh Marathon, although serious financial difficulty within the City of Pittsburgh municipal budget and UPMC’s withdraw from title sponsor led to suspension of the race from 2004 to 2008. In 2009, the event was revived with a new title sponsor, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and renewed interest in the race, arguably creating a bigger feeling event from year to year.

Random historical fact: The 1988 and 2000 races were USA Olympic Trials for women and men, and were held separately from the regular event although both were held over the same course.

Historically, the course has wound through the unique and hilly topography of the city. Crossing five different bridges, the course traverses all three rivers of Pittsburgh’s at least once. The start and finish lines have changed many times, but have always been in either Downtown or North Shore. Previous finish lines have included Point State Park, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and the 50 yard-line of Heinz Field. The current finish line is on the Boulevard of the Allies near Point State Park. Numerous other historic and well-known Pittsburgh neighborhoods are along the route, including the South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, East Liberty, Highland Park, Bloomfield, Lawrenceville, and the Strip District.

Throughout the course, thousands of neighborhood residents show their support by lining the streets of the course and volunteering at aid stations. Neighborhood organizations are awarded financial grants for community-engaging celebrations along the route. Sixty bands, almost all of which are from the Greater Pittsburgh area, line the streets throughout the course, spanning a range of musical genres.

So while you’re out this weekend celebrating Cinco de Mayo (all weekend long…I see you, Pittsburgh 🙂 ), make sure you find a spot on the marathon route to cheer these exceptional men and women along this Sunday!!!

 

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