Cakes, superheroes and Special Olympians star in Sunday’s Great Race
September 28, 2015 12:00 AM
Tom Murphy of Shadyside ran the 10K distance underneath a three-layer cake on his 36th birthday at the 38th annual Great Race on Sunday. The cardboard was covered with real cake, although most of it fell off during the race.
McKeesport firefighter Jeff List pushes his 14-year-old daughter, Danielle, a seven-year Special Olympian, in the 5K in Sunday's Great Race.
Greensburg Volunteer firefighter J.P. Moloney, left, and Mike Siegel, the Monaca volunteer assistant fire chief, ran the 10K distance in full gear at the 38th annual Great Race on Sunday.
Barry Goldmeier of Rockville, Md., ran the 10K distance wearing a Tom Brady mask and jersey while juggling deflated footballs.
Lindsey Zern of Baden high-fives spectators who were watching the 10K runners dash to the finish line Sunday in Point State Park.
Spectators watched the 10K distance runners finish the 38th annual Great Race in Point State Park on Sunday.
Tajuana Brown of the Pittsburgh chapter of Black Girls Run (BGR) cheers women finishing the 5K distance.
Claire Zorn won the women's wheelchair division with a time of 37:53 at the 38th annual Great Race on Sunday.
Attila Domos won the men's wheelchair division with a time of 18:30 at the 38th annual Great Race.
Holly Vazzo, 60, left, and Patricia Pacey, 71, both from Avalon, cheer on friends after they had just finished running the 5K distance in Point State Park.
Susan Vinecki of the Carnegie Science Center walked the 5K distance dressed as a robot to call attention to the center's RoboWorld exhibit.
Samuel Mueller of Auburn, Ala., was the men's top 10k finisher. His time was 31 minutes, 23 seconds.
Clara Santucci of Diluter, Pa., was the women's top 10k finisher. Her time was 33 minutes. Ms. Santucci also won the women's division of the Pittsburgh Marathon in the spring.
By Kevin Kirkland / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Great Race offered great views of Pittsburgh to its 14,262 runners Sunday. But the best one might have belonged to 14-year-old Danielle List, a Special Olympian who rode 5 kilometers in a jogging stroller pushed by her father, Jeff.
“The view of the South Side from Boulevard of the Allies with the sun coming up behind us — it was spectacular,” said Mr. List, a McKeesport firefighter.
Danielle, who carried pompoms, enjoyed the applause and high-fives from spectators along the 3.1-mile race route from Oakland to Downtown. But for her, the greatest part of the race was this:
“Cheering dad on,” she said afterward.
There was lots to cheer about at the 38th Great Race, with temperatures in the low 70s and cloud cover for most of the 10K. While winners Samuel Mueller of Auburn, Ala. (31 minutes, 23 seconds in the men’s division), and Clara Santucci of Dilliner, Pa. (33:00 in the women’s division), didn’t set records, other runners marked personal bests, first 5- or 10Ks, and in one case, a 36th birthday.
Tom Murphy of Shadyside celebrated by running in a three-layer cake costume featuring real ingredients. Not quite road-ready, the cake was coming apart by the end of the race but still tasted great, according to bystanders.
Another Tom Murphy, the former Pittsburgh mayor, was in a celebratory mood, too.
“I finished,” he said. “At my age , that’s something.”
He’s actually being modest. He’s one of 21 Perfect Great Racers who have finished every one, beginning on Sept. 25, 1977, when just 400 runners signed up. He was joined in the VIP tent by other Perfects — Carl Hatfield of Bridgeport, W.Va., winner of the first Great Race; Paul Gaberson of Forest Hills, who runs no other races; and friends Bob Costello and Tom Abbott of Abbott & Costello running fame.
“It was Costello & Abbott this year,” Mr. Costello said when asked who was first.
Rob Ruck of Squirrel Hill, a Perfect who hates that label, said the greatest change he has seen since the 1977 race is the larger number of female runners.
“It was fewer than 10 percent the first year. Now I think women are the majority,” he said.
Women were some of the most exuberant 10K finishers Sunday at Point State Park in Downtown. A young competitor dressed as Supergirl zoomed over the finish line and Wonder Woman leaped alongside a shirtless Superman with an S painted on his chest. Several pairs of women finished with hands clasped high like victorious boxers and one stopped, crouched and leaped into the air with a joyful scream.
Danielle List might have done that if she had the chance. Through seven years of Special Olympics, she has competed in bowling, swimming and track and field. Near the end of other races with her father, she often gets out of the stroller to walk the final 100 yards with him, he said. With 3,842 other runners in the Great Race 5K, she couldn’t risk getting out this time.
For father and daughter, running is about togetherness — talking, singing Taylor Swift songs and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature or, in this case, the crowds. They had to get up at 5 a.m. Sunday to get to the starting line by 8 a.m.
“She said, ‘Dad, it’s not even morning yet,’ ” Jeff List said.
Kevin Kirkland: email@example.com or 412-263-1978.
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