It’s the start of a new year, and if you’re a runner in Pittsburgh that means it’s time to prepare for race weekend! Whether you’re a consistent runner who has a race medal display in your living room or someone who is interested in running their first 5K, Pittsburgh race weekend has something for everything.

Races for All Levels

Image via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The wonderful thing about the Pittsburgh Marathon is that it’s a weekend event. This year, it takes place over the weekend of May 3-5, 2019. Offering a full marathon, half marathon, five-person relay race, 5K, kids marathon, toddler trot and pet walk, you can be involved with the festivities at any level.

5K Run

Image via Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

Training for a 5K is a great goal for the new year. A typical training plan for a 5K is anywhere from 6 to 9 weeks, so for this race, you can think about it for a bit before committing. Keep in mind, the Pittsburgh 5K Run is on Saturday along with the kid and pet runs. That also means you could theoretically run the 5K and one of the longer races the next day. With the 5K course, you’ll run through the city, across a few bridges, and cross the finish line downtown.

Half Marathon

Image via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pittsburgh Half Marathon offers a beautiful, scenic course. Starting downtown, you’ll run through the Strip District and across a few bridges along the North Shore passing some of the city’s iconic stadiums. Runners cross the West End Bridge and run down Carson Street which always has live music and lots of crowds. After crossing the Birmingham Bridge, participants head downtown to cross the finish line. It’s a fairly flat course that provides some striking views of the city’s skyline.

Full Marathon

Image via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ready to run the Pittsburgh Marathon? This is a great event if you’re considering running your first full marathon because it’s a well-organized and professional event. Photographers will take your picture as you cross the finish line. There are great photo opportunities at Point Park and the Health and Fitness Expo beforehand. You’ll earn a heavy medal and you can buy “finisher” gear to commemorate the experience. This race is a Boston qualifier. The course limit has also increased to 7 hours, so competitive or casual runners can feel ready to participate.

The marathon route passes through 14 different boroughs, so you’ll see a lot of the city on foot.

For those who don’t want to run the full 26.2-mile distance, you can enjoy the beautiful race route and split the distance between five of your friends with the Marathon Relay.

Family Fun

Image via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Want to get your kids or pets involved? The Toddler Trot happens on Saturday at Point State Park. Kids will get a taste of what it’s like to cross the finish line after a good run. Parents and their kids can run in the one-mile Kids Marathon together. And race weekend wouldn’t be complete without furry friends. Participate with your pet in the Pet Walk with proceeds going to the Humane Animal Rescue.

Health and Fitness Expo

Image via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pittsburgh Marathon Health and Fitness Expo is looked forward to by most runners in the greater Pittsburgh Area. If you’re participating in race weekend, it’s where you’ll pick up your bib number and shirt. You can attend the expo even if you did not register for any races. Check out local vendors for Pittsburgh-branded clothing, gear, and race memorabilia. (You know you’ll want something to hang your new race medal on!) It’s also a great spot to find new running shoes, clothing and accessories from top brands like Brooks and Lululemon.

Running for Charity

Image via Urban Impact

Running in race weekend can mean more than reaching personal fitness goals. The Run For A Reason Charity Program allows runners to choose from one of 36 participating charities. Participants fundraise for that charity using CrowdRise. By meeting the fundraising minimum, that person earns a free race entry. While you work on your personal fitness goals, you can also make a difference in the local community.

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
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