Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Patrice Matamoros

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Patrice Matamoros

Article excerpt

By Sam Werner

On April 15, Patrice Matamoros was in the Pittsburgh Marathon offices going from one meeting to the next. As the race director, she had a busy few weeks ahead of her leading up to the race May 5.

During one of those meetings, Matamoros was interrupted by a coworker, who told her there had been a bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

As the United States' premier marathon, the Boston Marathon was streaming live on the TV in the conference room at the Pittsburgh Marathon offices. Matamoros and her coworkers gathered there as the tragedy unfolded.

"Just shock and disbelief," Matamoros said of her reaction. "I couldn't even believe something like that would happen. I was just horrified."

After the initial shock wore off, a more pragmatic concern set in: Matamoros and her staff had their own marathon just under three weeks away.

For her deft handling and direction of the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon amid significantly increased security concerns, Matamoros has been named the 2013 Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year.

It wasn't easy. Matamoros recalled the days and weeks leading up to the race, understandably, as even more chaotic than normal.

"I think in past years, the two weeks before the race have been really crazy, busy, hectic," she said. "This year, it felt like four weeks of race week instead of just one because of all the things we were making sure we had in check for the marathon."

Those preparations included hiring an additional 200 police and security forces to work on race day, as well as changing security protocols for runners and spectators.

As the first major American marathon after Boston, Pittsburgh also served as a sort of example for how to handle race security in the wake of the bombings. Matamoros said directors from the Chicago, Houston and Twin Cities marathons, among others, visited on race day, both to lend a hand and see how things ran. …

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