Marathon runs through campus

By Alex Oltmanns

Despite the rainy weather on Sunday morning, close to 18,000 people ran as fast as they could to… Despite the rainy weather on Sunday morning, close to 18,000 people ran as fast as they could to Heinz Field, and it wasn’t for a Steelers game.

Instead, the crowd ran in the third annual Pittsburgh marathon.

The full race, which started at 7 a.m., spanned 26.2 miles. There was also a half-marathon option. Both began Downtown at the corner of Sixth Street and Liberty Avenue and ended in the North Shore by Heinz Field, as runners crossed the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

Runners from all across the world converged on the Steel City to run the race, including a number of Pitt students.

For senior Mike Tallerico, the run through the various Pittsburgh neighborhoods — especially Oakland — made the race enjoyable.

“It put on display many of the fantastic cultural and historical neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, like the Strip District, the South Side, Shadyside, East Liberty and Highland Park,” he said. “I also really enjoyed being able to run down Forbes Avenue past Pitt’s campus in Oakland.”

Pitt students played a prominent role in the race, not just running the course, but aiding in other aspects of the event, as well like interning and volunteering to ensure the race went smoothly, said spokeswoman for the marathon Karen Fredette.

More than 3,500 volunteers could be found across the course, providing aid to the runners. More than 80 musical acts and entertainers performed along the route to keep the runners’ minds off their fatigue.

“There must have been hundreds of volunteers and marathon staff out on the course throughout the day,” Tallerico said. “They were all extremely helpful, thankful and motivating to all of us runners.”

Pitt graduate Kristine Kashmere, who participated in the half marathon with a finishing time of 2:15, said the marathon staff was helpful, not just during the race, but in the days leading up to the event, as well.

“Lots of volunteers were present at the expo event held at the David Lawrence Convention Center Friday and Saturday before the race. It was a great build-up for the day,” she said. “The expo event featured vendors for all things running-related and informational booths regarding the marathon.”

The marathon was eventually won by Jeffrey Eggleston of Rochester, N.Y., with an unofficial time of 2:16:40. Bekele Delelecha of Ethiopia set the pace for the women, crossing the finish line in 2:35:34.

While those runners have been training for years — Eggleston was formerly a runner at the University of Virginia — for someone like Tallerico, who only began running long distances about a year ago, running his first marathon with a finishing time of 5:05:45, was something to work toward.

Kashmere used a more basic approach to training, including keeping a healthy diet and taking in more water and carbohydrates before the race.

“I run and work out regularly throughout the year but began training seriously for three weeks prior to May 15,” she said. “I used the Schenley and South Side trails and mostly relied on timing myself to train.”

Both runners, despite the challenging and hilly terrain of the course, considered the race to be a success.

“Pittsburgh is home for me, so there’s a great sense of pride in running this marathon,” Tallerico said. “I think the familiar territory made it easier for me, so if I had the opportunity to run again, I would.”