Sigh, no sister bridges: Pittsburgh Marathon, Half Marathon change 2017 routes

Construction alters route, but they’ll still include “spots that make Pittsburgh Pittsburgh.”

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
MJ Slaby

Updated, 4:12 p.m.

This year’s marathon and half marathon doesn’t include the sister bridges, but it does including running past the places where Pittsburgh’s sports teams play.

The May 7 marathon course goes by PNC Park and Heinz Field and the half marathon goes by those stadiums and PPG Paints Arena too, P3R, the the nonprofit that organizes the marathon, announced Tuesday in a blog post.

The changes to the 2017 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon courses are thanks to construction.

Organizers wrote that the courses still include the “spots that make Pittsburgh Pittsburgh” including neighborhoods and of course, sports arenas.

“For years, runners have asked to run past Pittsburgh stadiums,” Patrice Matamoros, CEO of P3R, told The Incline.  

However, neither race will include the sister bridges due to construction and city access needs. And both races also have two fewer bridges to cross, Matamoros said.

Matamoros said the marathon adjusts slightly each year for construction, and has known for about a year and a half that changes were needed for 2017 with construction on the sister bridges.

“We look at construction plans as soon as we find out about them,” she said, adding that the marathon also has to take into account traffic, bus routes and access to hospitals when planning routes.

The changes this year are largely for the first half of the marathon course and the start and finish lines are the same as last year.

Keeping with the spirit of the Stanley Cup win and the Steelers going to the AFC Championship game, the neighborhoods will have a black and gold theme as residents gather to cheer on the runners.

Here are the details on each of the races, per the marathon website:

The Marathon

The race starts on Liberty Avenue near 10th Street and runners will go through the Strip District and cross the 16th Street Bridge into the North Side as they have in the past. But instead of going Downtown and then back into the North Shore, the new course goes past Allegheny Commons Park, the Children’s Museum and National Aviary before heading to PNC Park and Heinz Field, the Carnegie Science Center and Rivers Casino. 

When runners cross the West End Bridge, the race is mostly the same from there and includes the West End, South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, Point Breeze, Homewood, East Liberty, Highland Park, Friendship, Bloomfield and the Strip District before finishing Downtown.

Here’s the map.

The Half Marathon

Like the full marathon, runners in the half will go on a tour of the North Shore that includes PNC Park and Heinz Field. But runners in this race will also go past PPG Paints Arena.

The change there comes from running on Fifth Avenue instead of Forbes. Half marathon runners will also run on Grant Street in front of the Pittsburgh City-County Building before finishing on Boulevard of the Allies between Wood and Market streets.

Unlike the full marathon where there isn’t much of a change in the number of hills, Matamoros said the half marathon has one less hill to run up plus a gradual downhill near the end that should result in faster times.

Here’s the map.

You still have time to register for either race before prices go up on Feb. 1. Current prices are $125 for the marathon and $115 for the half marathon. You can also do a free preview training run of the new North Side part of the courses with the Steel City Road Runners on April 15.