Some runners go long. We’re looking at you, Pittsburgh Marathon trainees.
We see you out there racking up mile after mile getting ready for race day. You know as well as we do, you have to get used to running 20 some miles. But you can’t just go out and run the Pittsburgh Marathon course (because cars).
Well, you’re not out of luck because Pittsburgh has long runs for days (and plenty of shorter, but equally awesome routes, too). For your next training run, hit one of these trails so you can just keep running.
The Montour Trail might just be your best bet for a local long run. This rail-to-trail project spans 46 miles from Coraopolis to Clairton and will take you over wooden bridges, through dark, echoey tunnels, and past a number of clutch water fountains. Our favorite portion? The Arrowhead Trail section in Peters Township. It has ice cream along the route.
The Montour Trail crisscrosses the Panhandle Trail, so you could actually mix and match your long run if you wanted to. This trail is a lot like Montour, but it always seems less crowded. Run long enough, and the 29 miles of trail will take you from Collier Township to Weirton, West Virginia. Enter at the Walkers Mill Trailhead for the sweet music of crunchy limestone footsteps and lots of open space.
Three Rivers Heritage Trail
Did you really think this wasn’t going to be on here! The Three Rivers Heritage Trail crawls all around, over, and betwixt our great confluence. You get 24 miles of well-maintained, riverside trail through downtown (Jail Trail), North Shore, Millvale, Lawrenceville, and the South Side. Fitt Tip: don’t get too distracted by the sparkly water — bikers, rollerbladers, and more than one pup play here too, especially on the South Side Trail.
Great Allegheny Passage
Get lost in your run on the Heritage Trail, and soon you’ll be on the Great Allegheny Passage dipping through McKeesport and en route to Cumberland, Maryland (you need a backpack if you’re making the trek, though). Say you’re feeling good about your marathon training and just want to put your head down and Forrest Gump it; don’t pick your head up until West Newton, 31 miles from PGH. (Then wait in the old train station to be picked up…)
Fitt’s Station Square-Northside Loop
We created a pretty fantastic urban run route that you’re probably going to try more than once. Starting at the Gateway T station, you’ll run through downtown and across the Smithfield Street Bridge to Station Square. Pass fountain, railroad, field, and before you know it, you’ll be crossing the West End Bridge for a lengthy tour of the North Side. Bring it home on the Clemente Bridge, and you just made 10 miles.
As long as you don’t bail early, the five-mile loop around North Park Lake is perfect for pacing. Take in some stellar scenery, enjoy your own paved running lane, and the clutch bathrooms along the way. How far do you go? For reference, March’s Lt. JC Stone 50k makes six loops. And just know that your post-run beer at OTB at North Park Boathouse is just a step off the path.
If you’ve ever taken a run that you would consider “long”, you’ll know that the next day your joints can feel destroyed. So finding some softer Earth to run on might be the change you need. And with Pittsburgh’s Frick Park, you’re set — trails of various elevations and terrains crisscross all over the 644-acre park. That being said, it’s not uncommon to get little lost (but hey, more miles!).