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Duquesne graduate dominates Pittsburgh's Great Race field

| Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, 12:24 p.m.
Thousands of runners begin the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on  on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Thousands of runners begin the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Jim Spisak, 23, of Arlington raises his hands as he crosses the finish line at Point State Park in Downtown, coming in first place for the 10K run during the Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Jim Spisak, 23, of Arlington raises his hands as he crosses the finish line at Point State Park in Downtown, coming in first place for the 10K run during the Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.
The 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race gets underway  on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
The 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race gets underway on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Carly Seymour, 24, of South Side pauses to catch her breath after crossing the finish line at Point State Park in Downtown, coming in as the first woman to finish the 10K run during the Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Carly Seymour, 24, of South Side pauses to catch her breath after crossing the finish line at Point State Park in Downtown, coming in as the first woman to finish the 10K run during the Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.
Runners arrive in Frick Park prior to the start of the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Runners arrive in Frick Park prior to the start of the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Runners listen as the national anthem is played prior to the start of the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Runners listen as the national anthem is played prior to the start of the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Adam Schwiederowski of Brookline arrives at Frick Park dressed as Captain America prior to running in the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Adam Schwiederowski of Brookline arrives at Frick Park dressed as Captain America prior to running in the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Jon Markowicz holds his daughter, Ella, 3, both of Miama, Fla., on the barrier along the 10K race route as they cheer on runners Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at the Great Race at Point State Park in Downtown. The two came to cheer on Jon's brother-in-law.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Jon Markowicz holds his daughter, Ella, 3, both of Miama, Fla., on the barrier along the 10K race route as they cheer on runners Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at the Great Race at Point State Park in Downtown. The two came to cheer on Jon's brother-in-law.
Runners' shadows are cast on the pavement as the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race gets underway Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Runners' shadows are cast on the pavement as the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race gets underway Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Nick Boyko of Dormont ties a bandanna around his head prior to the start of the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Nick Boyko of Dormont ties a bandanna around his head prior to the start of the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
The 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race gets underway  Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
The 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race gets underway Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Squirrel Hill.
Dennis Wallace of Bethel Park waits in Frick Park for the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, to begin in Squirrel Hill.
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Dennis Wallace of Bethel Park waits in Frick Park for the 37th Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, to begin in Squirrel Hill.
Maureen Milchak, 55, of Latrobe raises her hands as she crosses the finish line with her fellow 10K runners as they complete the Great Race at Point State Park in Downtown on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Maureen Milchak, 55, of Latrobe raises her hands as she crosses the finish line with her fellow 10K runners as they complete the Great Race at Point State Park in Downtown on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.
Todd Waits (center) of Carrick stretches out with sons Nathan (top left), and Connor (bottom left), both 4, after completing the Great Race 10K run with his friend Rahel Ringger (right), of Point Breeze on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at Point State Park in Downtown.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Todd Waits (center) of Carrick stretches out with sons Nathan (top left), and Connor (bottom left), both 4, after completing the Great Race 10K run with his friend Rahel Ringger (right), of Point Breeze on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at Point State Park in Downtown.
Dailyn Hopkins, 9, sits atop the shoulders of her father, David, 45, of Robinson as she readies a phone to record her mother passing along the 10K runners' route Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, by the Great Race finish line at Point State Park in Downtown.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Dailyn Hopkins, 9, sits atop the shoulders of her father, David, 45, of Robinson as she readies a phone to record her mother passing along the 10K runners' route Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, by the Great Race finish line at Point State Park in Downtown.
Jim Spisak of Arlington wins the Richard S. Caliguri Great Race with a time of 28.53 on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Jim Spisak of Arlington wins the Richard S. Caliguri Great Race with a time of 28.53 on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.
Kensie Luke, 7, of Moon rings a bell to cheer on runners Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at the Great Race finish line at Point State Park in Downtown. Luke was waiting to see her mother cross the finish line, who was running the 10K race.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Kensie Luke, 7, of Moon rings a bell to cheer on runners Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, at the Great Race finish line at Point State Park in Downtown. Luke was waiting to see her mother cross the finish line, who was running the 10K race.
Sara Stonebraker, 4, of Hopewell gets warmed up with mom Rachael Stonebraker, dad Mike Stonebraker and brother Jack Stonebraker, 3, before the start of the Junior Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Point State Park.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Sara Stonebraker, 4, of Hopewell gets warmed up with mom Rachael Stonebraker, dad Mike Stonebraker and brother Jack Stonebraker, 3, before the start of the Junior Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Point State Park.
Quinn Frost, 11, of McCandless is first to cross the finish line in the 1-mile Junior Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Point State Park.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Quinn Frost, 11, of McCandless is first to cross the finish line in the 1-mile Junior Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Point State Park.
Kathleen McLean, Duane Schrecengost and Justin Meinert from the Fort Pitt Museum fire 18th-century riffles and muskets to begin the 1-mile Junior Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Point State Park.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Kathleen McLean, Duane Schrecengost and Justin Meinert from the Fort Pitt Museum fire 18th-century riffles and muskets to begin the 1-mile Junior Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Point State Park.
Children and their parents line up at the starting line to kick off the Junior Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Point State Park.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Children and their parents line up at the starting line to kick off the Junior Great Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Point State Park.
Hunter Thompson, 6, of Brookline wears a Batman costume as he runs the 1-mile Junior Great Race at Point State Park on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Hunter Thompson, 6, of Brookline wears a Batman costume as he runs the 1-mile Junior Great Race at Point State Park on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.
Kendal Smith, 3, of Robinson (center) leads the 'Tot Trot' event at the Junior Great Race at Point State Park on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Kendal Smith, 3, of Robinson (center) leads the 'Tot Trot' event at the Junior Great Race at Point State Park on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.
Unicycle Sam of Portage in Cambria County turns heads at the Junior Great Race at Point State Park on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Unicycle Sam of Portage in Cambria County turns heads at the Junior Great Race at Point State Park on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.

A runner from Duke and another from the Dukes took top honors Sunday in the 37th running of the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race.

Duquesne University graduate Jim Spisak repeated as the men's champion, and former Duke University runner Carly Seymour was the women's champ.

Spisak, 23, of Pittsburgh dominated the field and shaved 11 seconds off his time from last year to win the 10-kilometer race in 28 minutes, 43 seconds. His nearest competitor, Justin Weaver of Greensburg, finished almost 3 minutes behind at 31:42.

“I had plans on taking it out (at the start) and seeing if anyone went with me. From there, I planned on assessing how I felt, and I felt all right and tried to keep a similar pace,” Spisak said. “If someone went out with me or not, either way, I was going to run my race.”

Almost 16,000 runners were registered for the 10K and 5K races, which began in Squirrel Hill and Oakland.

Spisak's pace in the 10K — 4:37 per mile — proved too fast for anyone to keep pace. As the runners entered Downtown on the course that began in Frick Park and ended at Point State Park, an announcement was made that the winner was leading by nearly a half-mile.

“I had an idea (how far ahead I was). I didn't look back, but I could hear what some of the people along the course were saying,” Spisak said. “I knew I had a good advantage, but I signed up and paid the entry fee, so I wanted to get a good effort out of it. I have some more races coming up in the fall, so now I'll take it easy a week and get right back to it.”

Seymour, 24, wasn't even running at this time last year.

She competed on the Duke track team through college but was out of competitive running for almost two years after suffering a stress fracture in her pelvis. A South Side resident, she ran in some Pittsburgh-area races this year before winning the Great Race in 34:02.

“I didn't run or move at all the last two years,” Seymour said. “I've been really surprised with how well I've been running. I haven't been doing workouts or anything, just running for fun and enjoying the city.”

Seymour, who won by 43 seconds over runner-up Jennifer Bigham of Pittsburgh, battled a nagging hamstring problem throughout the race but finished strong on the flat final mile.

“A lot of the downhill stretches I was (in pain), but when we got on the flatter ground I was good,” Seymour said. “I had just started back running, but I had to support Pittsburgh. I've done all the Pittsburgh races so far.”

Both winners share high school roots in Cambria County. Spisak is a graduate of Bishop McCort in Johnstown, and Seymour graduated from Central Cambria in Ebensburg.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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