Actually, make that a great weekend!
On Sunday, I walked my 14th half marathon, at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and Half Marathon. It wasn’t my best finish ever but was far from my worst. I kept a steady pace throughout and finished in 3:05:04. That translates to miles done in the 14-minute range. I would have liked to have come in under 3 hours, but that would have been more likely had I trained a bit longer (and dropped the last few winter pounds first)!
The weekend served as a race-buddy reunion with seven friends. Some of them have done this race before, and it made for a good centrally located event for us all.
It’s been a while since I’ve participated in such a large race — the entrant field topped 30,000. There are pros and cons to races no matter their size, but I’d recommend this event for sure. Here’s why:
- Outstanding signage throughout the weekend — at the expo, throughout downtown Pittsburgh directing racers to their start corrals, along the course (the mile markers were impossible to miss!) and in the finish area, too.
- A race program jam-packed with info and maps
- A race app that helped dig up needed info in short order
- Five bridges crossing all three of the city’s rivers
- A weekend full of activities for anyone and everyone: a 5K (with a special extra medal if you did that race plus the half or full, as one of my friends did), a relay, a Kids Marathon (a little over 1 mile) that had a HUGE number of participants, the half and full, and even a pet walk
- A really nice race shirt (in fact, it was the first time I wore the event shirt in a race)
- Good spectator support and fun spectator signs (to be shared in a “part two” of this post)
- A manageable time limit for walkers
- An expo and start and finish lines centrally located to many hotels
- An entrant field of 30,000+, which makes for constant company on the course as a walker. In smaller races, walkers tend to be a bit lonely as the rest of the pack pulls away. In this race, I never felt like a straggler and kept pace with several run-walkers along the way.
All in all, I don’t have any complaints about the event and would recommend it. (Well … I have one complaint, but it’s not the race organizers’ fault. My FitBit seems to be poorly calibrated and said I only did 10.24 miles for the day. What?! Add up 13.1, plus the to-the-start walk and from-the-finish walk, and my total should have been closer to 15. Cheated by technology!)