Marathon organizers may cap future marathons at 30,000 runners
By Scott Brown
Published: Friday, May 3, 2013, 11:58 a.m.
Five times around the lake at North Park and an extra loop equaled 26.2 miles. And after running that route in one of the races that preceded the Pittsburgh Marathon, Don Toy vowed he would never run that distance again.
Toy is now one of 15 “Sole Survivors” who have run in every Pittsburgh Marathon since its inception in 1985.
“It's just kind of turned into a compulsion,” the Apollo resident said.
Toy's change — the monotony of running around a lake initially soured him on marathons — may be equaled only by the changes in the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday. Close to 30,000 people will take part in the marathon or half-marathon, and sheer numbers since the Pittsburgh Marathon's rebirth show why its growth has been nothing less than staggering — and why the race may have maxed out on runners for now.
The 2009 Pittsburgh Marathon attracted 10,000 runners after the race took a five-year hiatus due to financial problems. The growth has been so steady since then that participation in the Pittsburgh Marathon will likely be capped at around 30,000 people for the foreseeable future.
“I think we're at a nice size now, and I wouldn't mind trying to stay here for a while,” race director Patrice Matamoros said. “I think we're right now in a really good place where we can start tweaking our operations and becoming more efficient in some of the processes we have race weekend.”
Matamoros' top priority may be easing congestion at the start of the marathon.
Runners are grouped in corrals according to times that are verified and then logged into a computer. The goal, Matamoros said, is to get 1,000 runners off the starting line per minute. Even if that is accomplished, it can still take runners a considerable amount to get into a groove.
Toy said when the Marathon was brought back in 2009 he reached the one-mile mark in around 12 minutes. It now takes him about 23 minutes to get through the first mile, he said.
“Really for three miles you can't get into the pace you want to get into because of the crowd,” said Toy, 59.
The inconvenience is a small price to pay, Toy said, as it shows how vibrant the Pittsburgh Marathon is.
Matamoros said her group has studied other marathons such as ones in Boston, New York and Chicago and tried to implement some of what they have seen at those races.
“We've traveled to all of the other major marathons that have gotten phenomenal reviews for runners, and we look at what they do,” she said. “I want to see what kind of experience these people have at these numbers this year and maybe sit at this place before we move forward.”
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ScottBrown_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Homestead accepts proposed budget
- East McKeesport reduces millage
- Judge allows evidence in case against New Ken-Arnold teacher
- Cocaine dealer released on bail before sentence
- Steelers safety Polamalu finds himself in tough position
- Washington Township approves tax-neutral $2.6M budget
- Kovacevic: A great day to appreciate No. 68
- Avonmore mayor files EEOC harassment case against council
- McKillop is model of excellence, on and off the mat
- Springdale officer who resigned to receive severance
- LeBeau wants to come back as Steelers defensive coordinator