Pittsburgh continues to grow as a racing town as the city hosts the inaugural Liberty Mile run this Friday, August 17. Top competitors from across the country as well as recreational runners will participate in the event that is a partner of the Bring Back the Mile campaign. The closest race distance to the mile is the 1500 meter, about 0.93 of a mile. The 1500 has been an Olympic event since the 1896 summer games.
Liberty Mile race director Patrice Matamoros said there will be approximately 1,200-1,500 runners participating in the race Friday evening.
“We’ll have roughly about 800 in our first heat, in the “Run for Fun”. And then we have in the following heats, we have about 300-500 runners, but when we get down to the expert men and women’s race, we have 15 women and 15 men,” Matamoros said.
Headlining the list of runners are the 2012 USA 1 Mile road champions, Heather Kampf and Craig Miller in the deep, elite “Expert” heat. Miller finished ninth in the 1500 at the Olympic trials in June. Kampf will be competing against other Olympic trial participants including Gabriele Anderson, who finished fourth in the 1500 and Sarah Bowman, who finished sixth.
Matamoros credits this year’s London Olympics as inspiring people to participate. “You get to watch on TV their efforts and you think to yourself, ‘I can do that!’ and I think that people are just thinking about it the sense of ‘Wow, I wonder how fast I can run one mile in, I saw that other people run really fast’ or, ‘I just want to see if I can do one’ because there aren’t really any other one-mile road races,” Matamoros said.
The race will start in the Strip District at 17th Street and the runners will follow Liberty Avenue until they cross the finish line at 6th Street. Matamoros said spectators can stand along the sides of the street for the best view.
“It’s going to be a great race to watch because so many of our milers are so competitive. Our male field; we actually have 10 that run under 4:00 miles already, so anywhere along Liberty Avenue would be a great place to watch the milers come in,” Matamoros said.
Runners who still wish to participate but have not yet registered can do so tomorrow evening from 5:30-7:00 at the starting line before the first heat.