'Perfect Marathoner' Group Keeps on Running

By Price, Karen | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

'Perfect Marathoner' Group Keeps on Running


Price, Karen, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


On the first Sunday of May in 2004, Dirk Kalp ran his 20th Pittsburgh Marathon to keep his streak alive.

That year was considerably more difficult than the first 19, however, because there was no Pittsburgh Marathon. Not officially, anyway.

"They canceled the Great Race the year before, and I heard that fall a bunch of people showed up at the starting line and had their own Great Race," said Kalp, 60, of Mt. Pleasant. "I thought maybe the same thing would happen for the marathon. I showed up, but no one else did."

Kalp carried on alone, wearing his bib number from 2003, carrying his own water, winding through the city streets by himself. He did the same thing the next year and every year after until 2009, when the race returned.

He's now one of 14 runners registered for Sunday's race who have run every marathon -- officially -- and one of a handful who unofficially have run more than that.

"It's nice to have people to run with again," said Kalp, who owns a technology startup in Greensburg.

Before dawn that same Sunday in 2004, Joe Bujdos said he and four others showed up to keep the marathon going.

"People would bellyache about why the marathon was gone, but we felt if we were out there, we were inspiring the running gods," said Bujdos, 57, of Indiana. "Maybe by us getting out there, it would come back. …

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