ShareThis Page

Registration for Pittsburgh marathon soaring

| Friday, Feb. 19, 2010

With the Pittsburgh Marathon still more than two months away, registration already has exceeded last year's record field and organizers have set a cap.

There are 13,000 runners on board for the May 2 race so far, and registration will close at 16,000.

"If you're going to run, it's time to get in," race director Patrice Matamoros said Thursday.

A record 10,500 people registered for the marathon in its return to the city streets in 2009, including 4,300 for the full marathon, 4,500 for the half marathon and 450 relay teams. The previous record was 6,419 in 2003, the last time the race was held in the city before its revival last year.

"At this time last year, we had right around 5,000 (registered,) so we've seen a huge surge," Matamoros said. "We've been out and about a lot more. We went to nine different marathon expos and got the word out and probably reached over 200,000 runners just through those expos."

As a result, Matamoros said, they have a lot of new and out-of-town runners registered for the race, including participants from 47 states and 10 countries.

And all this before organizers have kicked off the push for the half marathon. They'll do that with an appearance by training guru Hal Higdon that's scheduled for Feb. 26.

Higdon has been offering tips and advice and helping runners train for races for decades, and there's a link to his on-line training plans featured on the marathon's Web site.

So what's his advice for runners whose training has been thrown off by the snow the past two weeks?

They may not be as far behind as they think, as long as they've been doing some running and physical activity, he said. And, yes, shoveling snow counts.

If they have been mostly inactive the past two weeks, that may be a different story, he said.

"Just like you can't cram for an exam, with a marathon you need to do the work," Higdon said. "Taking two weeks off totally is not the greatest idea because research suggests that for every day lost in training it takes two days to make up the fitness. They'd need to spend four weeks getting back to where they were before the snowstorm. But if they maintained some level of activity, they can get back into it."

UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon Kick-Off Event

When: 6-7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 26

Where: University of Pittsburgh's Duratz Athletic Facility, 2nd floor, 3400 Water Street, Pittsburgh, 15203

Cost: Free.


On the schedule: Hal Higdon will motivate runners, talk about his own experience in marathons, discuss where runners should be in their training for the Pittsburgh Marathon or Half Marathon May 2 and hold a question and answer session.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.