As many as 70 so-called “elite” runners will take part in the Pittsburgh Marathon Sunday and organizers are doing their best to help them zip through the 26.2 miles.
“Our new start line is going to allow runners to get out faster, its going to allow our more elite runners a good shot getting out in a straight, flat area for about three miles before they make their first turn,” says Race Director Patrice Matamoros. The new course begins at the corner of 6th and Liberty, downtown.
Some of the runners will be looking to either qualify for the Olympic trials in Houston or to improve their times and the Pittsburgh organizers are trying to help. “We have three men coming in and they’ve already qualified for the Olympic trials, they are going to be pacing the women in hopes of qualifying women and then we have a rabbit for the men’s race in hopes of leading a pace for the Olympic trials,” says Matamoros.
To qualify for the Olympic trials a male runner must have a time of better than 2 hours 19 minutes. A female must run get under 2:39. The Pittsburgh race is also a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.
Matamoros says she is hoping to see a new Pittsburgh Marathon record set this weekend. The race begins at 7:00 Sunday morning.