Extra Motivation in Those Marathon Miles More Than $10M Raised for Charities since the Race's Resurrection in '09

By Spencer, Sarah K. | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), May 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Extra Motivation in Those Marathon Miles More Than $10M Raised for Charities since the Race's Resurrection in '09


Spencer, Sarah K., Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Two weeks after Julie Weber's daughter, Kaelyn, was born, the infant was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Two years after that, Ms. Weber and her husband began looking into the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and its Great Strides walk, which raises funds in an effort to find a cure for the disease.

Now 8, Kaelyn is in her third year participating in the Pittsburgh Kids Marathon, scheduled for Saturday, and Ms. Weber is training for her fifth consecutive Pittsburgh Half Marathon, to be held Sunday.

About 180 runners will run in the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday in the name of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - many of them dedicating their time in the name of a loved one. They aim to boost awareness of the disease, Ms. Weber said, but hope to raise money for an even bigger goal.

"I'm doing it for Kaelyn," she said. "And just to be able to cross that finish line and accomplish the race itself, physically, in the back of my mind, the other finish line I'm hoping that we'll cross soon is a cure for cystic fibrosis."

By the end of the 2017 Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, the race will have helped raise $10 million since its relaunch in 2009 under Dick's sponsorship, with 90 percent of those funds supporting the Pittsburgh community. With more than 100 participating causes, many of them local charities, the race raised $250,000 in 2009 and reached $9,183,682 after 2016's marathon.

"I think that it's a really important part of what we do at the marathon," CEO Patrice Matamoros said. "I think that the marathon can be used as a platform, as a sales tool, to do really good things. And that's represented in the over 100 charities that are involved in the program, and that money really, for the most part, is staying in the Pittsburgh community."

Much of the money comes from charities signing up and recruiting runners, using the marathon as a sales pitch. Race fees that runners pay go back into the infrastructure of the race, with some funds allocated to marathon programs such as Kids of STEEL, which aims to help underprivileged children get involved in the race.

"That's what people don't understand when they register," Ms. Matamoros said. "All of those expenses are spent: their shirt, their medal, road closures, contracted police officers, tenting - all of that just goes right back."

Ten dollars can filter back into the city by providing one children's book at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh or providing a toy for the Mario Lemieux Foundation. Scale that to $10 million, and the Pittsburgh Marathon is often the largest fundraiser for local organizations.

In the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's case, most of its money raised goes toward medical research and developing new drugs to combat the disease. …

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