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Marathon notebook: St. Vincent freshman, CMU student make mark in 5K

| Saturday, May 3, 2014, 4:45 p.m.

Pittsburgh Marathon weekend continued in style Saturday.

On Friday, the three-day extravaganza opened with the GNC Live Well Pittsburgh Health and Fitness Expo. Runners took to the streets Saturday for the 5K, Kids Marathon and Pet Walk. Those events served as the lead up for Sunday's Pittsburgh Marathon, which is expected to draw 25,000 runners.

For Saturday's 5K, around 2,000 runners completed the 3.1-mile race. Greensburg's August Sander finished first in 17:34, Rostraver's Aaron Horrell was second in 18:14 and Pittsburgh's Jamie Morgenstern, who was the top female finisher, was third overall in 18:27.

Sander, 23, is a freshman at St. Vincent and competes for the Bearcats' cross country and track and field squads. The Greensburg Salem graduate spent four years in the Navy before enrolling at St. Vincent last year.

“I just went out there and did my thing,” he said. “It doesn't get any better than that. I couldn't think of a better way to open up the marathon weekend than with this 5K.”

Pittsburgh's Tim Hanlon, 15, finished third (19:02) in the men's race behind Sander and Horrell.

Friendship's Morgenstern, 25, was happy to take third overall.

“I was coming down (the final stretch), and I heard the announcer say, ‘I see the first gentleman and the second gentleman, and we're going to fill the male podium.' I thought, ‘No, not yet,' ” she said with a laugh. “I had my thesis proposal yesterday, so today was mostly just for fun.”

A Montana native, Morgenstern has called Pittsburgh home for the past five years. She usually runs the full marathon. She is seeking a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon.

“The whole city is wonderful during marathon weekend, and it's weird to not be running the marathon, which I have before,” she said. “I was injured in the fall, so I wasn't quite ready to do a full marathon with the training I had. I just wanted to be part of the craziness. I was out here to get a workout. I am racing in the 10K for the Cleveland Marathon in two weeks. That's my big race of the season.”

Tanya Sakharov (33), of Toronto was the second female finisher in 20:07; Upper St. Clair's Tina Seech (52) was third in 20:20.

All finishing participants received a medal. Prizes were awarded for the top three finishers in the following age categories for men and women: 9-under, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and 70-over.

More than 4,500 children took part in the Kids Marathon. There were more than 200 registered participants for the Pet Walk around Point State Park.

Ideal weather

Weather conditions favored the runners Saturday morning. Temperatures were in the low 50s, and the skies were cloudy by the time the 5K race began at 8 a.m.

“It was beautiful,” Sander said. “It was perfect weather; you can't beat it. There was a little breeze. It wasn't too hot or too cold.”

The forecast calls for a similar forecast Sunday.

Twitter updates

With more than 100,000 fans expected to watch Sunday's marathon, event staffers will answer questions via Twitter in real time for those seeking immediate information. Use the hashtag #askPGHmarathon, and staffers will respond.

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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