PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It is an incredible spectacle when thousands of runners break from their starting corrals on Liberty Avenue for the Pittsburgh Marathon.
Tara Zeigler from Squirrel Hill will be in that crowd.
“Definitely the training period leading up to it is difficult, but it is so worth it for finishing the race and it feels great,” she said.
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Among those who will pin on numbers, you will find a variety of stories.
Greg Silvaggio, of McCandless, will be running with his daughter Ariel top of mind.
“Well, I’ve been a runner for a long time, and specifically this year, my daughter has been battling leukemia. So this is just like a chance to kind of stay motivated, stay on track and sort of just do something for her, even though it’s a small thing like running a race. Just keep her in my mind when I’m out there running, I don’t want to give up. I want to do something for her and stay strong that is really for her,” he said.
Father and daughter Dan and Karissa Parsons are running for each other. It’s Dan’s seventh race and Karissa’s first.
“I’m really nervous,” Karissa said, “but I think it will be fun.”
Dan agrees it will be a lot of fun as they make their way through.
“Great neighborhoods! Just a fun race,” he said.
Non-racers might think it’s best to avoid Downtown Pittsburgh and the neighborhoods where the race will be run, but race CEO Patrice Matamoros says the reverse is true.
She encourages everyone to come find a spot along the course.
“Cheer for people because people really need to be cheered on,” she said.
The runners say you can make a big difference.
“[The crowd makes] it exhilarating, knowing there are thousands of people you know cheering for you,” Teak Denard from Crafton said.
Tracy Thompson will be running with her friends from Clarksburg, W.Va., and says the crowds make the race.
“That means everything. That gets us through. When you think you are ready to stop and you can’t go any further and you hear some stranger but they are just yelling and cheering you on and the little kids who that hold the signs that say, ‘Hit here for power.’ It’s just the best thing,” she said.
Allene Scales from Sewickley says the crowds are amazing.
“It keeps you going, it builds your excitement and it’s pushing you,” she said.
On Saturday, there will be several street closings for the 5K and the Kids Marathon but those should be lifted by noon.
Sunday, the road closings phase in overnight.
“Pretty much the whole city is going to be shut down by seven. Everything should be on Waze, so if you are trying to around town, go to Waze,” Matamoros said.
Fans coming downtown for theater events or the Pirates games should not have any problems. The only possible conflict will come with late-leaving runners on Sunday and early-arriving Pirates fans.
Matamoros suggest Pirates fans park on the North Shore on Sunday.
“When they come into the city, they are competing with the runners who already parked there way earlier than they did,” she said.
Matamoros says all the information you need about road closures and traffic can be found on the Pittsburgh Marathon website.