Earlier this year, Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc., launched its American Development Program, “an initiative designed to increase exposure and racing opportunities for emerging American professional runners,” according to the official website.
With the initial announcement came talk of big prize money at the agency’s four marquee events, and with the first two less than two months away, organizers are making good on that promise.
At the 2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half-Marathon—both scheduled for Sunday, May 4—athletes who earn 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying times will walk away with sizable cash bonuses, Running USA reports.
Those who meet the “A” qualifying standards in the marathon—2:15:00 or faster for men and 2:37:00 or faster for women—will earn $1,500. “B” qualifiers—men who finish the marathon in 2:18:00 or faster or the half in 1:05:00 or faster, and women who run or beat 2:43:00 or 1:15:00—earn $500.
What’s more, organizers have earmarked $40,500 for the top five American male and female finishers in both of these races. (Prizes are $4,500, $3,500, $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000 for the 26.2-miler and $3,000, $2,000, $1,000, $750, and $500 for the 13.1-miler.)
Since they’re eligible for prizes in both the open and U.S.-only categories, homegrown athletes have even more incentive to give it their all on the Steel City streets.
“We designed the American Development Program to provide our up-and-coming athletes with support to reach their dreams of competing in world-class events, including the Olympic Games,” said Patrice Matamoros, CEO of Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. “It is essential for us as an organization to enable the next great generation of American elite athletes to reach their Olympic dreams by participating in our Pittsburgh races, and we expect a talented group of American distance runners to race in the City of Champions on May 4.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg