Celebrate the Start of Training Season at Kickoff Run

by Karen Price

The biggest party of 2017 so far for Pittsburgh’s dedicated running community didn’t happen last Saturday night waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square.
It’s happening this Saturday when we’ll all get together for the annual Pittsburgh Marathon Kickoff Training Run. Last week’s fun won’t have anything on this week’s celebration of the good (and challenging, and rewarding, etc.) things to come as we spend the next 17 weeks preparing for main event itself on May 7.
“The Kickoff Training Run is when all the excitement begins and you can dig in, you’re ready for it mentally,” said Theresa Vescovi, a member of Steel City Road Runners who’s come to the Kickoff Run every year since 2011. “Then you see all the other people that are there for the same reason and it’s very inspiring.”
Join us at 8 a.m. at the P3R headquarters at 810 River Avenue on Saturday morning to see exactly what she means. Steel City Road Runners will lead 4-, 6- and 8-mile runs, with a variety of pacing options, but we have lots more in store for you than a run.
First, we know it’s going to be cold (not that that’s ever stopped you, Runners of Steel), so DICK’S Sporting Goods will host ‘an Ignite the Fire’ Lounge made up of fire towers and fire pits for you to warm up before, during and after the event. You’ll also be able to buy official and exclusive DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon training gear to start the year in style plus visit with our sponsors who’ll be on hand, including Brooks, GNC and UPMC Health Plan and score samples from additional sponsors including Rachel Ray Nutrish, NuGo Nutrition and Honey Stinger. 
You also won’t want to miss our announcement about fundraising and our Run for a Reason charity program because this year’s a big one. We’re pushing to reach the $10 Million mark in dollars raised since we first took to the streets in 2009, and our CEO Patrice Matamoros, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Chief of Staff Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Sayward Elliot are going to speak about the impact and importance of our charity program. On top of all that, you get to mingle with other runners, get advice and get inspired.
“You’ll make instant running friends, that’s what happens,” said Vescovi, of Bethel Park. “You fall in with a pace group and start talking and just start feeding off all the knowledge of other runners. In any group you’ll have people who’ve done the marathon every year and the newbies, people who’ve never done it before, and that’s even more exciting. It gives motivation to both people who’ve been running forever, like me, and those new people. There’s a lot of knowledge needed to go run a marathon so to know others who’ve done it takes the fear out of it.”
Steve Spang, of Jefferson Hills, said the Kickoff Training Run is a fantastic place for new runners in particular to meet and talk to more veteran runners to get advice and training tips. 

“It’s exciting because you have a whole bunch of people who are both nervous and excited to start training for maybe their first marathon,” he said. “It’s especially nice to talk to people doing their first marathon because they’ll talk more and ask questions and it’s nice to share what I’ve gone through and what I’ve already experienced.”

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