PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It takes a lot of coordination to make sure the Pittsburgh Marathon goes smoothly, and the Marathon’s operations command center is at the heart of it all.
It’s not just the runners who planned and trained for their big day. Thousands of people behind the scenes did, too.
“It didn’t just happen overnight. This has been in the plans for three, four months, and over the past two or three weeks, we constructed the operations base,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said.
In one complex in Downtown Pittsburgh, there were the heads of police, fire and EMS, dispatchers from 911 and representatives from countless agencies. Even the FBI was represented.
“The city doesn’t stop for the Marathon. The city is still an active, living city that is supporting all the other people who are not involved with the Pittsburgh Marathon,” P3R Chief Operation Officer Dee Stathis said. “So it’s really important that people understand that we are partnering with the city, and we have to support them as well.”
Safety of the runners is paramount, and when you’re running more than 26 miles, the weather can play a huge role in that, which is why KDKA Meteorologist Ron Smiley was keeping an eye on that department.
“This year [and] last year, we were kind of fortunate with the weather being a little on the colder side. That helps us out,” Pittsburgh EMS Chief Bob Farrow said. “The hotter it gets, the busier we get.”
There were calls for assistance, including some runners who had to be transported to local hospitals, but things went as smoothly as could be expected considering more than 20,000 runners wound their way through Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods.
“Every year is a little different, and they all have themes. I can honestly say we don’t have a theme this year so far,” Stathis said. “I think it’s gone smooth. Every year is a challenge, and you never really know what the problem is going to be.”
With everyone under one roof, they felt confident they were ready for just about anything.