• Pittsburgh,
    United States
  • May
  • 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race, Relay
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

This Old Runner ~~

Florida, United States
32 22
"2019 Pittsburgh Half Marathon"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
This Old Runner ~~'s thoughts:

The Pittsburgh Marathon offers runners lots of choices. Full, Half, Relay, and 5K events. The 5K, Toddler Run, and Pet Walk are on Saturday, the Half and Full are on Sunday. The Steel Challenge gets you an extra shirt and medal: run the 5K on Saturday, plus one of the Sunday races.

The expo was at the Pittsburgh Convention Center downtown. Hours were 11 am to 8 pm on Friday; 9 am to 6 pm on Saturday. You looked up your bib number, got your bib, bag, and shirt. Signs were clear and there were plenty of people around to help.

We tried to hit the expo on Friday morning. Parking was tight since city workers and everyone running on Saturday were already parking in town. You could park and walk in to the expo but we didn't have time before a lunch date. We returned early on Saturday morning. Parking was easy, and the expo wasn't crowded. We were in and out in under an hour.

It was a big city expo with samples, vendors, fuel, shoes, and race gear. If you forgot anything you could find it at the expo. Brooks had a black and gold Pittsburgh edition shoe which looked sweet. Price was right, too. More details and photos at ThisOldRunner.com

I love the way the corrals worked. It was organized and easy. You could find all the info you needed about everything online or in emails. There is an app by P3R that sent notifications on race weekend. I appreciated messages like "Expo is Open" and "Head to Your Corral."

The starting line was organized and moved at a good pace. We opted for the last corral and ran a low pressure, back of the pack race. We started about half an hour after the first wave.

The course for the half was scenic and fun despite the cloudy, wet day. It was great to see the city on foot. The half had rolling hills — nothing too terrible. I did a lot of hill repeats to train for this race, so either they paid off or the marathon had more challenging hills.

Aid stations were about every 2 miles. There was NUUN and water at every station. Plenty of hydration for everyone. On course med tents and EMS and police were plentiful. If you had trouble on course there were plenty of professionals around to help.

There were pockets of people cheering on the runners. It was a rainy morning, but there were lots of spectators. There were bands playing along the course, people dressed in costumes, and groups of people offering encouraging words.

OMG, I love, love, love the way this race ends. There are a couple of turns before you end up back on Liberty Avenue. Since there's a marathon there were still plenty of people lining the street and cheering when half marathoners finished. The tall buildings create an echo chamber. It was thrilling to run to the finish with loud cheers on both sides.

After crossing the finish you receive a medal, water bottles, banana, bagels, fruit cup, EatnPark Smiley cookies, salty snacks, and a heat sheet. There may have been other things I missed. Point is, there was plenty of post race food.

The chute funneled racers towards Point State Park where you could meet up with friends/family. Take a quick right for the porta potties and gear check. BTW, the full marathon's named sponsor is FedEx. Gear check was in FedEx Trucks parked along Liberty Avenue.

Marathoners received a free beer; $5 for everyone else. The beer tent was a couple of blocks away from Point State Park.

Inside the park were more vendors, free samples, an official merchandise tent, challenge medal pickup, etc. The rain was on and off all morning, so we joined the group huddled under the arch to visit with family. When the skies cleared we made our way back to the ice arena where we parked for free.

The race medal is nice -- shows the city reflected in the river, plus highlights the three rivers. The race shirt is black tech long sleeve. It was nice to throw it on after the race. In the swag bag there were some $10 coupons for Dick's Sporting Goods and GNC, plus Honey Stinger Waffle + coupon, NuGo Bar and info on getting your medal engraved.

People in Pittsburgh are always friendly and fun, and so was their race!

Photos and more info here: www.thisoldrunner.com/2019-pittsburgh-half-marathon-review.html

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