This past weekend’s running travels took me to the Steel City, Pittsburgh. I have never traveled to Pittsburgh before much less run a road race there but in between touring breweries, checking out some Pittsburgh Pirates games and eating sandwiches larger than one person should consume a road race was definitely a needed way to burn some of Pittsburgh’s calorie-high indulgences off.
My friend Matt (read his blog here) came up from Kentucky for the trip and since we both have been doing a lot of running lately we decided to look for a race we could do while in Pittsburgh prior to our arrival. We came across the Riverview Park 5k and decided it was the race for us. The race took place on Friday evening at 7PM and though the temperature dropped a bit, at race time it was still sunny and warm with temperature in the 80’s.
The course took you through Riverside Park in Pittsburgh which was a great city operated park. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery of the course was perfect, the course itself was somewhat of a beast for a 5k!
Runners started out running down a quick straightaway through the residential street leading into the park and then looped back into the park and headed for the first hill. The first hill took runners up to the Allegheny Observatory at the top of the hill, which is still used by the University of Pittsburgh. After a quick loop around the Observatory, back down the hill quickly. After that, the course dropped into a pretty steep downhill portion which lasted about a half-mile or so. The course then smoothed out as you headed toward the end of mile 2. What came next was to say the least tough. Mile 2 through 3 was a rather intense uphill run. The entire mile was winding back up to the finish line and when I say that it is one of the tougher uphill miles I have ever done, I am not exaggerating.
Good on-course water support and post-race refreshments included fruit, water and Gatorade. The race was $10 to enter and a tee-shirt was included which makes this race a real bargain! One recommendation would be to have on-course mile markers and perhaps volunteers calling pace splits at the miles.
Finished the race in 25:24 or 8:11/miles. Though a bit slower than some other paces this year, given the course and the fact that, heck I was on vacation, I’ll take it.