Tough Course with Great Fan Support (about: 2003) Course: 5
M. L. from Athens OH (5/13/03)
I heard that Pittsburgh was hilly but I had no idea it was going to be filled with never ending hills throughout the first twenty-four miles. I liked the hills and left the marathon with a greater appreciation for my accomplishment than the many 'fast and flat courses' other marathons have to offer. The fan support throughout the entire course was great. The fans really seemed to be enjoying themselves, which always makes things more enjoyable for us runners. The mini-marathon was also a big hit for the children. I have nothing but positive things to say about the Pittsburgh Marathon and plan to return again next year.
Uphill effects vs. Downhill effects (about: 2003) Course: 4
Fans: 4 John Shalvey from Westerville, OH (5/13/03)
My training partner & I came to Pittsburgh to split the marathon. Humbly speaking, I was in better shape than he was. We decided that he would do the first half since he was toying with the idea of continuing on and completing the entire race. At the half way point he succumbed and passed the electronic chip to me. Neither one of us knew the course, as this was our first time. I was favorably impressed that most of the 2nd half was a nice gradual decline in elevation. My partner however suffered the first half of mostly uphills. An interesting phenomenon happened the following day. He complained of no muscle soreness, while I was terribly sore. We experienced the efffect of positive vs. negative training on muscle soreness. In the gym, it is the negative part of weight training (the lowering of the weight) that produces muscle soreness, while the positive part of weight training (the lowering of the weight) that produces more of a cardiovascular effect. Running uphill produces concentric contractions (positive repetitions), while running downhill produces eccentric contractions (negative repetitions). Since most of my workout was downhill, producing eccentric contractions in my legs, I got very sore. My partner, doing the uphills did not get sore. For purposes of building strength, the eccentric part of exercise (the lowering of the weight/running downhill) is far superior to the concentric part of exercise (the raising of the weight/uphill running). For cardiovascular effect, the concentric part of exercise (uphill running) is far superior to eccentric contractions (downhill running). Hopefully my comments are helpful to you in your future training on the roads and in the gym.
Nice course & GREAT fans (about: 2003) Course: 4
M. C. from Baltimore MD (5/10/03)
I enjoyed this marathon a lot more than I thought I would. People say it's tough, but I didn't think it was unreasonable... not a PR course, but not terrible either. The hill at mile 11 is the worst part, but still manageable. I think that the downhill stretch at mile 22-23 is harder on you than the uphill parts. Fan support throughout the course was great. Lots of bands, musicians, & dj's scattered over the course. Parking was very convenient at the stadium lot. Would have liked a bit better refreshment selection at the end (the bagels were like bricks). Worst part of the race was the expo. They could've held it in a closet and still had room for more vendors :).
I recommend this race mainly due to the great fans that lined most of the route.
World-Class Organization, Excellent Marathon! (about: 2003) Course: 5
Fans: 5 Tom and Mary Regensburger from North Potomac, MD (5/10/03)
My wife and I both ran the 2003 Pittsburgh Marathon [our 5th marathon each]. We each had PRs and we both thought it was an excellent race! The Saturday pre-race marathon seminar at the Marriott (sponsored by New Balance) was awesome and very informative. The medical doctor, the communications director, the ambulance & medical director, the coach, and the race director were all awesome. The pasta dinner in the Marriott Hotel was great. We had a great time, had some good food, and met some really great and friendly people. We thoroughly enjoyed the dinner conversations and the marathon tips [Thanks Amy and Kevan]. The shuttle buses from the Marriott Hotel to the start of the race and back were great. The marathon start was awesome too and we met friendly people there as well. It was amazing to meet John from the Air Force, who had only returned home from Iraq four days earlier. The neighborhoods, bands, and music along the course were awesome too. The people, crowds, fans, and cheering were great. The finish line and Jumbotron were awesome and very well organized. The volunteers were the best, and there were plenty of water stops and aid stations - you definitely don't need a camelback. The course was excellent too: one or two hills to keep you honest and make it interesting and challenging, and great scenery and cityscape views. A++++ marathon! Great job everyone!
Don't be afraid (about: 2003) Course: 5
A. G. from Washington, DC (5/9/03)
I was fearful of the hills, but without cause. Yes, they exist. No, they are nothing to worry about. If you have adequately prepared for a marathon, you can run this course just fine. I trained in Washington, DC, which has no hills whatsoever, and everything was just dandy for me.
It was my second marathon after running Washington, DC last year. The course was much nicer than I expected. Actually, Pittsburgh was much nicer than I expected. Driving sucks, but the race was great. Pittsburgh obviously takes this race seriously; it was a much bigger deal for the city than the DC race was for our nation's capital in 2002. The fans were terrific, enthusiastic, and most importantly, equipped with bananas and oranges. There were lonely spots along the course, but not many. The organizers had musicians along the course--everything from rock to reggae and even a bagpiper. This was very nice. Next year, however, they should start the relay races ahead of the full marathon pistol. The entire race, I had to deal with relay runners blowing past me from behind (they are tagged as relay runners), weaving in and out of those of us actually doing the 26.2. Its easy when you are only doing 10K.
Oh--go to the pre-race pasta party, also. Nicely done, worth the $13.
Overall, I came with medium to medium-high expectations (as I would to any race in a big city), and was surprised at how they were all exceeded. Nice course, great fans, good organization. Run it.
Great fan support throughout the race!!!! (about: 2003) Course: 4
Fans: 5 Raymond Mayak from Bethlehem, PA (5/8/03)
Hill starting in mile 10 is somewhat difficult, but manageable for my 2nd marathon. Fan support was great throughout the race.....highly recommend PGH Marathon and will run it next year!
Pittsburgh....Well worth the trip! (about: 2003) Course: 4
Fans: 3 Michael Edelman from Brooklyn, NY (5/8/03)
I am an 8-time marathoner and ran Pittsburgh this spring (2003). Overall I was extremely happy with the course, spectators and organization.
Course - Aside from two back-to-back hills around mile 14, it is basically a flat course with a gradual downhill towards the end. Note to race organizers: don't put the water stops exactly on the mile markers because it's difficult to keep splits while drinking water! The water stops were well stocked and well spaced.
Spectators- Sparse crowds but very supportive. I was surprised when the course went through two universities (Pitt and Carnegie Mellon), and there were only four people between the two schools. Maybe it was a late Saturday night there.
Organization- Very good. The use of Heinz field as the start/finish is a brilliant idea and the bathroom and spectator facilities are great. The massage and information tents were also a plus. The expo was OK, but nothing to write home about. The shuttle buses to/from the hotels was also a bonus.
Overall I enjoyed Pittsburgh and would consider a return trip.
Awesome.... (about: 2003) Course: 5
Fans: 5 Joe Cortese from Connellsville, PA (5/8/03)
Well, this is my 3rd. Baltimore being my 1st and Tampa my 2nd. SO it goes like this: BALTIMORE and TAMPA had great EXPOS's, while PITTSBRUGH's STUNK. I was embrassed bringing in out-of-town friends to my city's marathon, hoping to spend some time at the expo in the BURGH......... Needs MAJOR improvement. As for the COURSE: Great, great, great.... loved the bridges, loved the FANS, loved the bands, GREAT, GREAT, GREAT; beats Baltimore and Tampa. Hills at 10 and 11 did hurt, as well as the downhill at mile 21 and beyond. I guess if I still had energy, I would have loved the downhill..... Anyway, I rate this a 4.75 STARS out of 5... Do it................Enjoy the moment!
Great course to see a beautiful city... (about: 2003) Course: 5
B. M. from Chicago (5/7/03)
If you haven't seen Pittsburgh, I suggest you do it this way. One of the most beautiful skylines I've seen. The course was not particularly hilly and thoroughly enjoyable. Only issue I have is lack of sponsorship (read food and beverages) at the finish. The organizers would do well to enlist some local businesses to bump up the party. I would really like more than an apple and a banana after running 26.2. Otherwise, a great race and great people in Pittsburgh, both running and watching.
Should be a must-do on every marathoner's list (about: 2003) Course: 4
D. H. from Pittsburgh (5/7/03)
Entry fee is a bit steep. Average expo in a characterless, windowless setting that does not do justice to the race or the Expo Center itself. How about an info booth at the expo? Easy parking near the start; good amenities at start/finish area for runners and families. Sufficient hoopla at start to create a nice atmosphere of excitement. Challenging but fair course, with the long downhill towards the end making it all worthwhile, and the changes from last year are good ones. Nearly perfect weather in 2003! Good crowd support, tons of volunteers, average shirt but nice medal.