The 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon

On your mark . . . get set . . . yes, it’s that time already. This weekend marks the first training run — and it’s free! — for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon.

Not a seasoned runner? No problem. The annual kickoff to marathon season in Pittsburgh features beginners and runners already registered for the May 1 marathon, half marathon, marathon relay or 5K. If you haven’t yet registered, you can do so at the event.

Hosted by P3R and the Steel City Road Runners, the training run attracts about 500 runners every year. More than 900 have already signed up this year, according to Patrice Matamoros, CEO and race director.

The training race events begin bright and early Saturday with check-in at Riverfront Place on the North Shore starting at 7 a.m. Steel City Road Runners will lead runs of 3, 6, 8 and 10 miles, at various pace options, and there will be a warm-up lounge for runners before and after the event. Health experts will be on hand to discuss injury prevention, holistic health and marathon mental prep.

Registered runners can pick up a Milestone Pod to track their progress as they train over the next 17 weeks for the big event.

This year’s marathon weekend races are expected to attract 40,000 runners. The full race crosses Pittsburgh’s three rivers over five different bridges, and travels through 13 city neighborhoods.

Kim Lyons

Kim Lyons is an award-winning writer and editor who spends way too much time on Twitter. Her experience includes crime, features and business reporting, and she has a huge crush on Pittsburgh. She was...