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5 Reasons to run the UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon

The DICK’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend is a “premier destination” for runners from all over the country. And it’s no mystery why! With a 5K, a kids’ marathon, a toddler trot, a pet walk, and the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon, the weekend is packed with events for everyone. These events challenge runners with routes for every experience level, all with breathtaking views of Pittsburgh [1]. In 2019 more than 40,000 runners from 23 countries, two U.S. territories, and 47 U.S. states participated in the weekend of events, with 14,289 of them taking part in the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon [1].

The 2020 UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, May 3, 2020, and is expected to be another record-breaking year for the event. Have you been dreaming about joining the fun? Here are five reasons to make that dream a reality in 2020!

1 – Half marathons are both popular and realistic

Half marathons are among the most popular race distances for runners [2]. According to marathon coach and Olympian Jeff Galloway, “The half marathon gives you almost all of the satisfaction and achievement of the marathon and far less than half of the aches and pains and fatigue [2].” It’s also manageable distance for newer runners. If you can run three miles a few times a week, you can probably train for a half marathon comfortably. It’s a step up from a 5K or 10K and a bucket-list must for new and experienced runners alike.

2 – You’ll get a spectacular tour of Pittsburgh’s sights and communities

The UPMC Health Pittsburgh Plan Half marathon is one of the largest in the country. The route is packed with gorgeous views of the three rivers, Pittsburgh’s stadiums, and the city’s unique neighborhoods. There’s no shortage of fun, either. Neighborhood festivals, bands, and cheer-a-thoners keep runners energized and motivated throughout the race. Last year, the Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events attracted more than 300,000 spectators [1]. With that many people cheering you on, you’re sure to make it across the finish line.

3 – You can run for a reason

If you want to raise money for a good cause or dedicate your miles to those in need, lace up with “Race for a Reason.” This program allows runners to choose from a list of more than 30 charitable organizations—many of which have local roots. Once you’ve selected a charity, you’ll get a fundraising page and the opportunity to show your support as you go. In 2019, 1,800 runners raised more than $1 million through the Race for a Reason program. Even better? A whopping 92 percent of the funds raised remained in Pittsburgh [1].

4 – You can take on the Steel Challenge

The Steel Challenge provides a perfect opportunity for those who want an additional challenge—and some one-of-a-kind race bling. The challenge consists of a “warm-up” on Saturday, followed by the UPMC Health Plan/UPMC Sports Medicine Pittsburgh 5K. You’ll round it all out by running any of the races on Sunday: the half marathon, full marathon, or relay. Complete the whole challenge, and you’ll get an extra, special medal! Those of you who are into the race “bling” will not be disappointed. The Steel Challenge medals are one of a kind (and really big).  

5 – You’ll get a weekend of fun for the whole family

The DICK’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend has something for everyone. From the jam-packed race expo—complete with vendors and seminars—to the kids’ one-mile, the half marathon, and the pet walk, the whole family is welcome to participate. If you or your family members aren’t up for a run around town, there are tons of ways to volunteer on race day. It’s a great way to get involved in the fun.

Since 2010, UPMC Health Plan has been the title sponsor of the Pittsburgh Half Marathon [3]. UPMC Health Plan is proud to support an event that brings the community together and encourages Pittsburgh to take a step toward a more active and fit lifestyle [3]. We can’t wait to see you there!


  1. Another Record-Setting Year for DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend of Events. Pittsburgh Marathon. 2019 June 13. Accessed February 3, 2020.
  2. Jane McGuire. Running event participation is in decline for the first time in years. Runners World. 2019 July 06. Accessed February 3, 2020.
  3. UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon. UPMC Health Plan. 2018. Accessed February 3, 2020.