PITTSBURGH (October 13, 2018) – A total of 53 relay teams, comprised of approximately 384 participants from 19 states, competed in the inaugural Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Relay presented by UPMC Health Plan from October 12-13. The two-day event was the first of its kind for western Pennsylvania and challenged relay teams of eight or four runners to tackle 24 legs of varying distances along the 150-mile trail from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, PA.
Teams began the race any time between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Friday, October 12 in Cumberland, MD and continued running the GAP for 20-30 hours through the chilly and sometimes rainy weather to reach the finish line at South Shore Riverfront Park in Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday, October 13. The first team crossed the finish line at 7:24 a.m. and the final team completed the race a little after 3:00 p.m. Team DiMarco/Workhorse Outfitters +40 was the fastest of the bunch, completing the 150-mile ultimate relay challenge in less than 20 hours.
According to Bryan Perry, Executive Director for the Allegheny Trail Alliance (ATA), the event was a very unique way to enjoy the trail. “The GAP soars over rivers and ravines and cuts through mountain tunnels, making a gently-graded, smooth journey through some of the most rugged, spectacular places in two states,” he explained. “And charming towns along the trail that cater to travelers offered respite for those awaiting their next leg.”
Participants also enjoyed some incredible perks. Snack packs including Nuun Hydration tablets, water provided by PA American Water, NuGo bars and Smiley Cookies courtesy of Eat’n Park were provided at each of the five major exchange zones. P3R also partnered with the ATA and several event partners to offer exciting giveaways and activities along the course, including but not limited to:
- Sheetz provided coffee and breakfast treats at the start line to help runners fuel-up for the race.
- Participants were challenged to catch the Brooks Super Team as many times as possible on the course to collect prizes and for the chance to win Brooks Running apparel for their entire team.
- PA American Water provided free late night pizza and snacks in Connellsville, along with free breakfast and DJ playing music in Boston to keep runners energized and entertained through the long and cold nighttime legs of the race.
- Participants could pose at the photo booth after crossing the finish line and take home a souvenir photo courtesy of title partner UPMC Health Plan.
- Participants enjoyed one free bier, soft pretzel with bier cheese and pierogies at the post-race party at Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh.
“An event of this nature was a massive undertaking, so we are grateful to all of the partners who helped to make it an exceptional event for participants, volunteers and all involved,” said Patrice Matamoros, P3R CEO. “We wanted to create an event that offered an unforgettable opportunity for adventure and camaraderie, and early feedback from participants leads us to believe we exceeded expectations. We’re already looking forward to next year!”
Click here to view photo highlights and visit www.gaptrailrelay.org for more information about the GAP Relay. Proceeds from the inaugural race will help with the ongoing maintenance and improvements of the GAP, while introducing runners to the beauty of the region and potential for outdoor adventure.
About Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R)
P3R is a nonprofit organization that is passionate about promoting a love of running and enhancing community access to health & fitness education and activities. Best known for organizing the acclaimed annual DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, we also manage a variety of other high-quality races, events, and health and fitness programs throughout the Pittsburgh region. While many of our races attract some of the nation’s highest-profile professional athletes, we offer activities for all ages and ability levels. The only criterion for participation is a desire to be happy, healthy and active! Read more at: P3R.org
About the Allegheny Trail Alliance (ATA)
Founded in 1995, ATA is a coalition of seven trail organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania and western Maryland that is charged with promoting and enhancing the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile multiple use rail-trail system between Cumberland, MD and Pittsburgh, PA and the 52-mile Montour Trail, to provide a connection to the Pittsburgh International Airport. Completed in 2013, The Passage is now connected to the 184.5 mile C&O Canal Towpath in Cumberland and provides a non-motorized, nearly level trail system between Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA. For more information on the Great Allegheny Passage and the Allegheny Trail Alliance, visit www.GAPtrail.org.