I laugh as I have been asked many times. Why are you running in Pittsburgh? There are at least three races much closer to home, including my home town half marathon, the same day. Why are you going to Pittsburgh? You cannot even type the emphasis people put on the word Pittsburgh either. It is almost comical considering where I come from as Greater Binghamton New York is not exactly a thriving metropolis.
First, I started off last October looking for a May marathon. I did not want to train through Christmas again for a February marathon. While Myrtle Beach was a great experience, the winter I trained through was tough and I wanted to put off those long runs until it was slightly warmer. I have to say that by looking at a May marathon, as opposed to a February one, I managed to do all but about 10 miles of my training outside. When I trained for Myrtle Beach, I did over 50 miles inside. I dislike running inside.
As I researched my options, I narrowed the choices down to three: Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Vermont City. I have adult children living in Pittsburgh and in Buffalo. I have run in both cities. Okay, the running in Buffalo was actually on the Amherst campus of the University at Buffalo but close enough. I could see running either of these marathons. Suddenly, it was a two marathon choice and the decision was made to run both.
Pittsburgh is a huge marathon, sponsored by a national company. This played into my decision. The national company use to be local. Dick’s Sporting Goods was starting in Binghamton, NY which is basically my hometown. I realize that this area is just another area that they have stores in now but many of us still remember that first store on Court Street. I wanted to run “their” marathon. I also ran on The Strip and along one river while I was in Pittsburgh for my daughter’s college graduation in September of last year. At the time, I was heading towards the taper for my October marathon but I liked the atmosphere of running in Pittsburgh.
Add to all the above reasons the fact that Pitt – as in the University of – has always been a nemesis for my alma mater. I can conquer the city on foot. WVU will be leaving Pitt behind as the Mountaineers become a Big 12 team and Pitt goes with Syracuse to the ACC. The Big East aspect of this decision is no longer really in play.
Pittsburgh is such a vibrant, up and coming city that I am truly looking forward to running the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon this coming Sunday.