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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From a small community race involving several hundred runners to a major event drawing more than 12,000 people, the Great Race has come a long way since 1977.
“Since then, it’s grown to be the largest 10K in the state and one of the largest in the country at the 10K distance,” race director Brian Katze said.
Former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy is among the group of racers who have been participating since the beginning.
“The first one when Mayor Caliguiri started it, I was inspired to run and you don’t think 41 years later that you would have run every one, but you do, so it’s fun,” Murphy said.
Mayor Richard Caliguiri died from amyloidosis. A portion of the race’s proceeds now support medical research into the rare disorder, but it also does more.
“It’s one of the things that makes Pittsburgh such an attractive place for talented people and companies to locate because they can attract people to a great city with a great quality of life,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
“You are on foot, so you can look around and see the different places. You get to see the Cathedral of Learning, Soldiers and Sailors, it’s great,” runner Lisa McCune said.
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Some runners just appreciate being in the company of 12,000 people.
“It’s a great atmosphere. Look at all these people. You can’t beat it,” runner Kai Miller said.
“I’ve done it for the last five years and I think it’s a great thing for Pittsburgh and everybody getting together,” runner Louis Stamera said.
Others say the biggest reason for running is to improve their health.
“Couple years ago, I used to be almost 400 pounds and I just started running, started walking actually, to try to take off the weight,” runner Sean Jones said.
In the 10K division, Pittsburgh native Jim Spisak and Samantha Bower, of Greensburg, won.
In the 5K competition, Kenny Goodfellow, of Oakmont, and Lisa Burnett, of Ohio, took home first place.