Minor, Tiny, Itty-bitty panic

I just was browsing the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon page, because this run is basically the largest looming thing in my life. I had seen some discussion on a mailing list recently about course times in many marathons/halfs being pretty tight, so I browsed around to try to find the course time for Pittsburgh.

Half marathon finishers have only 3 hours to finish the course (I assume because of the Smithfield St Bridge/Smithfield St closure that the half runners take through downtown.)

At first, I think, okay, no big deal, 3 hour is about 13:45 pace.  I can easily manage that. But, I assume that that’s gun time.  Meaning that I have until 10am, regardless when I mosey across the start line and get my chip time started. I’m signed up for the 11-12:15 pace group, the slowest group besides the ’12:15 and above’ folks. I think that pace group is a pretty good bracket of my possible times; 11 minutes would be a coup, 12:15 would be slow, but reasonable.  So 2:24:00-2:40:00 chip times.  That means that I absolutely must cross the start line in 20 minutes after gun time, because until I get some longer runs under my belt, I’m not taking any pace for granted!

I don’t *think* this will be a problem (Pittsburgh is a ton smaller than those races that take an hour or more for all the starters to cross the line) but I just don’t know enough details, and it gives me the willies to think that my first half could be a DNF, not because I couldn’t hack the distance, but because I didn’t cross the start line in time.

Does anyone know anything about the corral system being used for the Pittsburgh Marathon? The Marathon and the Half have the same start time, and the field looks to be about 18k people. Am I going to make it across the mat in time?

I’d really hate to get a DNF because of logistics.


3 responses to “Minor, Tiny, Itty-bitty panic

  1. you’ll be fine. Cut-off times are there for many reasons, one of which is to discourage people from walking the running race (there is a separate walking division and they start way earlier). also, I’m pretty sure they don’t mean gun time, I think they mean “time from the last person to cross the start.” Another way to ease your worries – look at last year’s results. Sort by time and look at the last page. There are *many* people above 3 hours, and some even over 4 or 5!

    The only races I know of that are really strict about cut-off times are hard-core ones like Boston. You’ll be fine. 🙂

    • also, per the website “If you have not finished the Half Marathon, you will be directed to the sidewalk areas to complete the race.” This seems to be the case for many races – you can finish out but the roads will be opening again so you’d have to stay on the sidewalks and obey traffic laws.

      again, you’ll be fine 🙂

      • Thanks for assuaging my little fears, Annette! I figured they weren’t going to toss me into the river, but I feel a little better knowing that. Also, Steph pointed out that the last mile and a half or so are shared with the marathon course, which gets me another 18-20 minutes of grace period.

        I wonder why they say MUST in such strong language on the Rules Page.

        I should have thought to look at the race times from previous years to feel better. 5 hours, wow!

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