Caliguiris keep running into the family business with Great Race
Max Caliguiri thought for a second, but couldn't muster a response when asked how much running was a part of his family.
That's when his younger sister, Ellie, chimed in from the kitchen of the Caliguiri's Squirrel Hill home, shouting “10 percent,” and drawing a laugh.
But that estimate probably is a bit on the low side, especially when it comes to the Great Race.
Max Caliguiri, 10, will run his first 10K in Sunday's Great Race, and he'll do so alongside his father, David, who's the son of the event's namesake, former Pittsburgh Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri.
While the elder Caliguiri never had much interest in actually running in the race he founded 36 years ago, the annual event has drawn his son and grandson closer together.
“It's just what we do in the fall,” David Caliguiri said. “You have to run the Great Race.”
Max Caliguiri is a fourth-grader at The Campus School of Carlow University and started running cross country this year. Practice usually consists of two- or three-mile runs twice a week.
Though David Caliguiri has been running his family's race regularly since 1985, he never did so with his father, who died in office in 1988 from amyloidosis.
“I remember when I was 10 or 12 years old, I would walk to the start line with my dad, then a friend of mine and I would go run it,” David Caliguiri said. “Dad would say, ‘OK, see you at the end.' “
Such indifference to running doesn't stand a chance in this Caliguiri household.
Katy Caliguiri, David's wife, once structured a girls weekend around an eight-mile run. David Caliguiri ran the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2012.
David and Katy created their own sprint triathlon to do together, swimming at Club One on Penn Avenue, biking to Station Square and back to Squirrel Hill, then running through Shadyside.
Max ran alongside his dad in the rain last weekend, pushing through until the end.
“I like running,” Max said. “It keeps you fit.”
Max Caliguiri started his Great Race career at 9 months old in the Diaper Dash. A year later, the 50-yard Tot Trot followed. At age 5, he participated in and the one-mile Fun Run.
Last year, Max, David, Katy and Ellie, 8, ran the 5K together, holding hands as they crossed the finish line.
“Crossing the finish line with him was the coolest thing ever,” David Caliguiri said. “I don't know if he understands what it means to us, but to me, that was amazing.”
Max Caliguiri has never run a 10K. Neither Katy nor David Caliguiri know where he got the impetus to double the distance so suddenly.
“I'm still astounded in his own confidence, to tackle something like this without questioning it for a second,” Katy Caliguiri said. “That's how you want your kids to approach everything in life.
“When he's faced with adversity later in life, we can say, ‘Max, look how you approached running a 10K, six miles at age 10 without a huge running background. You did it with confidence.' “
Registration for this year's Great Race has reached an all-time high at 15,500. Since 1993, a portion of the proceeds have gone toward the Richard S. Caliguiri Amyloidosis Fund.