Thursday, August 16, 2012

Women who revived city marathon launch one-miler - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Sometimes extraordinary things happen under ordinary circumstances, and so it was with the rebirth of the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and its new, smaller sibling -- the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile.

The one-mile race will be held Friday along Liberty Avenue from the Strip District to Downtown.

Patrice Matamoros, now race director of the marathon, was organizing a Run for Fun event for the students at Fairview Elementary School in the Fox Chapel Area School District, which the children of Dee Stathis and Michele Fetting also attended.

In addition to having children in the same school, the women shared a common interest in running.

Mrs. Fetting had run in various races, including triathlons. Mrs. Stathis had competed in a marathon and several half-marathons, and Mrs. Matamoros was a nationally ranked collegiate runner.

The original Pittsburgh Marathon was halted in 2003 when the city went through a financial crisis. Mrs. Fetting was instrumental in procuring a sponsor and setting a new starting line for the Dick's Sporting Goods Marathon in 2008.

"I think Michelle was really relentless until she got Dick's and the city to understand the need to bring back the marathon," Mrs. Stathis said.

Once the stage and date were set for the new marathon, Mrs. Fetting asked Mrs. Matamoros for help with the event because of Mrs. Matamoros' success with the Run for Fun program in the elementary school. Mrs. Matamoros agreed to be the race director of the marathon.

Mrs. Fetting mentioned the launch of the new Pittsburgh marathon to Mrs. Stathis at a cookout.

"She asked if I wanted to help with the marathon," Mrs. Stathis said, recalling that Mrs. Fettig said it would probably involve just a few hours a week.

Working together and sometimes using their own money, Mrs. Stathis and Mrs. Matamoros began seeking funding, traveling to Harrisburg in search of a grant. "We had nothing," Mrs. Stathis said. "We had to borrow office space in the old Alcoa building. We had two cubes and a part-time administrator."

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