This Sunday marked my third year of running the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler. As is typical of Pittsburgh’s October weather, it was lovely for running. This year was by far my slowest of the 10 milers I’ve run, but I don’t mind. I figure, the longer I’m running, the more calories I’m burning, so who cares if it takes me three days. I really look forward to the 10 Miler each year, dare I say it is my favorite race? Whether it’s my favorite, or one of several favorites, it’s still got a special place in my heart for these reasons:
1. I got in on the ground floor. It is always neat to hear how a race started off in the 1970s with 100 guys in their short-shorts and Nikes, and now it’s runners number in the thousands and it’s got major corporate sponsors. I envy those runners, whose ranks whittle down each year, of the ones who have been there since the beginning and have never missed a race. The EQT 10 Miler is my chance to be in from the start on a run that is big and exciting. Even if I give up running, I’m going to hit the pavement and walk it (really fast). Even if I move away, I plan to come back each year for the race. I will be so excited when we hit the 50th running in 2062 and I’ll be out there, a waddling little octogenarian, showing em how it’s done!
2. The route is perfect. It’s almost literally on my doorstep. All I have to do is roll down the hill and BOOM, I’m at the start line. This means that I don’t have to get up or leave particularly early. I can wake up leisurely, have my breakfast (coffee and an apple with peanut butter), and stroll on down to the start line just before it starts. Because there is nothing more painful in the first world than having your muscles stiffen for 2 hours in the cold before the race even starts. Also, it is a closed course. All the races I have run in Pittsburgh have been closed courses, so I didn’t know open courses were even a thing until I ran a 5k in Oregon. Even if the traffic is non-existent, I DO NOT LIKE OPEN COURSES. The whole course for the EQT 10 miler is closed, and the cops and crossing guards who are monitoring the streets are great at cheering on the runners.
3. 10 Miles is my favorite distance. It’s not as popular as 10k or Half-Marathon, but each year there are more and more 10 milers out there (and yes, I want to run them all!). I love the distance. It’s just hard enough– it takes some work for me to get ready for it, but it’s also still manageable for me if life goes nuts and I can only hit the pavement a couple of times a week.
4. It’s a “big” race, but not so big as to be overwhelming. I like the anonymity of bigger races. After all, I’m a solo runner and like to blast my music and just get in my zone. But I like that the EQT 10 miler is just big enough that I run into friends for a quick hello. There aren’t a ton of spectators out, but I love that the ones who are out are totally into it. No big crowds staring at their phones. These are folks who are excited to cheer you on, and will clap, cheer, high-five and are all-around great.
5. The social media team is killer. The whole Pittsburgh Marathon/EQT 10 Miler social media team is on it. They are quick to respond and are well informed. It makes things a lot easier when there is some last minute hiccup and you need some help. They jump right at it and get you squared away.
What fall races are you running this year?
What races are your favorite?