PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Forty years ago, a friend called Carl Hatfield, a nationally renowned runner from West Virginia, inviting him up to run a brand new road race in Pittsburgh.
“Told me they were having a new race,” Hatfield said. “Ten thousand meters, and they were calling it the Great Race in Pittsburgh.”
Just days later, Hatfield found himself toeing the starting line right next to the late mayor and race founder, Richard S. Caliguiri. At the starting gun, Hatfield left everyone in the dust.
“And I ended up winning,” he said.
Coasting to victory in the days before race prize money, the city gave him an impressive trophy, which, to this day, holds a place of honor at his home in Bridgeport, W.Va.
“Well, I could have used some prize money back then,” Hatfield said, laughing.
21 Perfect Great Racers Return For 40th Year —
Forty years later, Hatfield is still running. And even more amazing than his first victory is the fact that he’s returned to Pittsburgh to run the Great Race every single year since.
Now, he finds himself in a very exclusive fraternity — the Perfect Great Racers, 21 runners who have never missed a Great Race.
“These guys are like my brothers now,” Hatfield said.
As a special honor, Hatfield is always assigned the bib number 1 — as the first winner and Perfect Great Racer. He attributes his good health and longevity to running, and, like the others, he aims to keep his streak alive.
“I’d like to be up here when I’m 100 years old, running… let me see, that would be the 70th Great Race,” Hatfield said.