This year I was running as a member of the ALZ Stars team for the Alzheimer's Association of Western Pennsylvania and in memory of my Grandma who I lost to Alzheimer's in 2017. The Alzheimer's Association is a charity very important to me and one that I will continue to support as we find a cure for Alzheimer's and end it for good. Needless to say, today's race meant even more to me today.
The first two and a half miles take you up Liberty Ave and back down Penn Ave in the Strip District. The course wasn't too tight at all when we started - maybe the first tenth of a mile or so, but nothing too bad that you couldn't easily maneuver around safely and comfortably.
As we made our way down Liberty Ave, I started to wonder how the rain would impact spectator support along the race course. While friends and family love their runners, will they love them enough to stand in the rain? About a mile in I came across my first non-race volunteer support. It was a sweet couple cheering away with umbrellas in hand. At this moment I knew that Pittsburgh was going to come through for us.
After taking a right-hand turn onto Carson Street, you keep going straight down Carson for about 3 miles. I love this section because you are along the Monongahela River for a lot of the way and the spectators are always out in full force.
Compared to Atlanta, the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon course is pretty flat, but I was still happy to get to the E-ZPass Mile (the flattest mile on the course).
Even though I had less than a mile to go to the finish, there was one last stop to make before the finish line. To cap off the trifecta of Pittsburgh professional sports facilities, we went past PPG Paints Arena, home of the Penguins! As a huge Pens fan, I had to stop by.
Half Marathon finish line #115! BOOM! What an amazing morning! My goal was to have fun and that is exactly what I did. The spectators, volunteers, and my fellow runners made every mile wonderful along the way despite less than perfect conditions!
Inside the park area there were a few vendors, food trucks, and music so runners and their family and friends could enjoy some time relaxing after the race. Usually the park is full of runners, family, and friends celebrating their accomplishments of the day. Well, the park was on the brink of being a mud pit and was pretty empty today.
Before heading back to the hotel, I went down to The Point to snap a few pictures of my newly earned bling. This is seriously one of the best opportunities for post race pictures because of the fountain, bridges, and Heinz Field that can all serve as excellent backdrops for your pictures. Once again, with the weather the photo ops were not great, but I made due with them.
My 5th Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon and Steel Challenge (5K on Saturday and 1/2 Marathon on Sunday) are in the books and it was definitely everything that I wanted it to be and more. It was another fabulous year. Now, is it too soon for me to start planning for 2020?