PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A cloudy, wet morning couldn’t stop the wave of runners poised at the new start line for the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday morning.
With the sound of the starter’s pistol, a sea of humanity took off on a 26.2 mile course, taking them through downtown streets, across bridges and through neighborhoods.
Race director Patrice Matamoros says the event brings life and lots of dollars to the city.
“Today, you can see spectators lined up all the way down General Robinson,” said Matamoros. “You can see packed parking lots, packed hotels, sold out hotels, packed restaurants.”
Matamoros says 18,000 runners actually competed in three races – the 26. 2 course, then a 13.1 mile event, and the relay. But, no matter what event, the runners were treated like heroes by volunteers and residents in city neighborhoods.
Volunteers on Frankstown Avenue showed off the positive side of the Homewood community.
“I think we want to show the city that we’re truly involved and we want the city to see us as part of the city,” said Rev. Eugene Blackwell, a Homewood resident.
“We love our community,” added Charmaine McDonald, another resident. “We are so proud to have the marathon come through here every year.”
Meanwhile, the marathon capped off a three-day festival in Bloomfield.
“It stimulates the community; it puts it on the map,” said resident Bob Waruszewski.
“It’s been great for the city, brings in crowds from outside, and that’s what we’re looking for,” added Dana Acton, a local business owner.
Dan Malady drove in from Elizabeth Township to support the runners.
“You have to have tremendous determination and a lot of strength,” he said. “I give them all so much credit for doing this. I could never do this, never.”
This year, the finish line was moved to General Robinson Street on the North Shore near Heinz Field. Matamoros says it allows the event to accommodate more than 50,000 spectators.
As more runners began reaching the finish line, it appeared that the skies started to clear up.
“This city is the best city for sports; the best city for the support that they give to anybody who comes to visit. It’s just fantastic,” said Matamoros.
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