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THE HILLS ARE alive with the sound of ... runners. This morning 15,000 of them will compete in the 35th edition of the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race. The 10K runners start in Frick Park, the 5K runners in Oakland and everyone finishes at Point State Park. The tradition almost died in 2003 when the city's financial distress forced the event to be canceled, but volunteers organized a Great Replacement Race in Schenley Park. The official race returned the next year, thanks to backing from businesses, which remain supportive. The late Mayor Caliguiri started the Great Race as a community run in 1977. Although some Pittsburghers are inconvenienced by road closings, the race is still fun and part of the proceeds go to research on amyloidosis, the disease that claimed the popular mayor in 1988 at the age of 56.

TRADITION has a strong hold on Pittsburgh and it's hard to run away from that cultural fact, even when it makes sense to break from the past. That was the challenge for the Pittsburgh Public Schools board when it voted Wednesday by the barest margin, 5-4, to put the former Schenley High School in Oakland up for sale. The building, constructed in 1916 and closed in 2008, has many happy memories for those who studied or taught there, but it also has major problems, including asbestos, and the estimate for repairs is $76.2 million, which admittedly is a controversial figure. In a district that is consolidating, not growing, selling the building for several million dollars makes more sense, hard as it is to accept.

PITTBURGH'S landmark buildings and topography will unfold before the runners in the Great Race this morning, but another way to see them is to go to the movies. Two new movies set in Pittsburgh have just opened in theaters. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is directed by Stephen Chbosky, an Upper St. Clair native who put his 1999 novel on the screen. It's about the growing pains of teenagers in the Pittsburgh of the early 1990s. "Won't Back Down" is about a fictional public school in the Hill District where the education is poor, causing two parents to try to take over the school. The union teachers are the villains in this tale, which was filmed in various schools in the Pittsburgh region.



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