Every year in late
September, the city of Pittsburgh readies itself for the annual Great
Race, a 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) road race attracting participants from
around the world to brave the challenge of its fast and exciting course.
Organizers of the Great
Race seek to accommodate the desires of all levels of runners, not only
by offering an alternative to the 10k in the form of a 5k race, but also
by developing a racing course which traverses a steady downgrade,
dropping 400 feet from start to finish, producing faster times for the
leaders and less difficulty for beginners.
The two races typically
draw approximately 7,000 runners. Whether new to Pittsburgh or a
long-time inhabitant, the Great Race welcomes all and the sense of
belonging is inescapable as every individual undergoes the same
experience in the process of completing the race.
Furthermore, the Great
Race provides an opportunity that is unique to the sport of running, and
that is the chance for beginners to compete in the same event at the
same time as some of the sportís top athletes in the world. Is this
found in football? Only if the XFL had managed to survive. Baseball?
Come on, the Pirates are starting to perform at a much higher level.
What about NASCAR? I can only dream! The point being that this rare
scenario should be seized by all and relished from start to finish.
To many, the thought of
running one mile, let alone the 6.2 that comprise the Great Raceís
course, conjures up images of retching along the side of the road or
collapsing from heat stroke. Or possibly suffering through days of
soreness that completely incapacitates the body. However, such maladies
are unnecessary if the proper training is utilized in preparation for
For first time runners,
a very helpful training schedule can be found at
www.halhigdon.com/tenk/training.html. However, regardless of your
level of fitness, it is important to keep in mind that in a race of this
size it is easy to let your adrenaline take over at the beginning of a
race, which will cause much greater pain and difficulty in the latter
miles. Be sure to pace yourself throughout the race and to not get too
carried away on the downhills. With adequate training, anyone can not
only complete, but also enjoy running either the 5k or 10k events for
the Great Race.
This yearís event, which
marks the 25th Anniversary, will be held on Sunday, September
30. The 10k will begin at 9:30 am and the 5k at 8:30 am. The fee for
either race is $16 by September 7 and $22 thereafter. Be aware that no
registrations are accepted on the day of the race. All other relevant
information, including online registration, is available at
Good luck to all who
become a part of the throng of runners vying for a portion of the more
than $20,000 in cash prizes. I wonít see a penny of it, but I am going
to revel in the experience nonetheless!