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Competition expected to be fierce for EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler

| Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, 7:06 p.m.
Tyler Pennel approaches the tape as the first finisher in the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler on Sunday.
Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Tyler Pennel approaches the tape as the first finisher in the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler on Sunday.

More than 4,500 runners from 29 states are expected Sunday at the 2017 EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler. The fifth edition of the premiere fall road race in Pittsburgh, which starts on West Carson Street in Station Square, kicks off at 8 a.m.

From there, racers will traverse Pittsburgh's West End, North Side and Strip District neighborhoods before crossing the finish line on Liberty Ave in Downtown.

The runners vary in skill level and age. The youngest participant is 14 years old, and the oldest is 76, according to Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R).

“I think one thing that brings so many different people in is the distance. It's a great distance for a race,” P3R CEO and Race Director Patrice Matamoras said. “It's also a fall race, and it's always really nice for people to come to Pittsburgh and see the fall season here. It's fun to experience the city in the fall.

“The race itself pushes people in a different way. It shows off the city with the Downtown finish. People can enjoy themselves in Market Square afterwards with the post-race festivities, so it's really a celebration.”

In addition to providing runners with a fun race-day experience, the 2017 EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler is serving as a championship race for Professional Road Running Organization, a nationwide series of elite nonmarathon events.

As part of the PRRO 22nd Championship on Sunday, 25 world-class athletes will compete in the men's and women's divisions for a prize purse that totals $26,200.

“What it brings is an international field of professional athletes that are here to set records and win,” Matamoras said. “It's part of the pro series, and we're the championship race this year, which is really an honor because a lot of the championship races in the pro circuit are iconic races that have been in business for a really long time.

“We've been around for just a short period of time, so it's really great to be included in that circuit.”

After missing last year's event, professional runner Tyler Pennel is returning to Pittsburgh. He won the Pittsburgh EQT 10 miler in 2015.

Pennel, who shares the record time (46 minutes, 50 seconds) for the event with Kenya's Elijah Muturi Karanja, said in addition to competing, he's looking forward to returning to the city that treated him well in the past.

“It's a good race. We'll be going up against some good competition,” Pennel said. “Pittsburgh is great at bringing in a bunch of very good runners, so I'm looking forward to running against all of them.

“Winning two years ago was a big memory for me. That was one of the bigger wins of my professional career. It's great because they bring us professionals in, and it's a lot of fun. They treat us very well and make us feel like rock stars.”

While the race serves as a platform for friendly and professional competition, it also benefits the Kids of Steel charity, an exercise and nutrition program developed to promote healthy lifestyle habits in kids.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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