United States

Pittsburgh, PA

A comprehensive guide to running in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a great city for running, with lots of variety. The “Steel City,” named due to its previous prominence in the steel industry, boasts city running along three rivers, many parks and trail runs, and hills, including a view of the city from the top of Mount Washington (elevation: 1123 ft). The Heritage Trail, sort of like the Charles River Trails in Boston, is downtown and takes advantage of the convergence of “three rivers”, with numerous options for good loops.  Another favorite area, near downtown, includes lovely Schenley Park, Frick Park, and connecting neighborhoods.  There are other park runs and challenging hill runs easily accessible, especially on the “south side” of the Monogahela River. Note: running in Pittsburgh can be hilly!

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Pittsburgh’s climate is similar to most northeast states: cold in the winter months, moderate in the spring and fall, and hot during the summer. Temperatures peak in July, with an average of 10 days over 90°F annually. During the summer months of July and August, the best time to run would be in the early morning before the heat proves too brutal.


Pittsburgh is a fairly compact city. There are great places to stay within proximity of the best running routes. The largest cluster of hotels is right downtown, providing good access to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. There are also hotels on the north shore, which has access to the Heritage Trail and many of Pittsburgh’s cultural and sports attraction. The University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon area is also a good area to stay, with good running in Schenley Park and Frick Park, and pleasant residential neighborhoods.

If you need to stay near the airport, a good running option is the Montour Trail. For access, stay in one of the hotels south of the airport along I-376 rather than north. There’s also a 6-mile connector trail to the Montour Trail from the airport!

Running Stores and Group Runs

There are surprisingly few dedicated running stores in the downtown Pittsburh area. Best bets near downtown are True Runner and New Balance. Fleet Feet, a great running store chain, is 8 miles south of downtown.


True Runner
 — Shadyside area of Pittsburgh (Northeast a few blocks from Carnegie-Mellon University)
New Balance — Oakland area near University of Pittsburgh Law School
Outside the City

New Balance — Homestead

Fleet Feet Sports — South of downtown Pittsburgh, Mt Lebanon area.

Finish Line — Three locations: South Hills Village Mall, south of the city; The Mall at Robinson, between downtown and the airport; Homestead, located inside Macy’s.

Run Clubs/Group Runs

Steel City Road Runners — Pittsburgh’s biggest running group. Group runs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30pm, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8:30am.

People Who Run Downtown — Runners of all abilities meeting weekly, Tuesday nights at 5:30pm at various restaurants.

Pittsburgh Frontrunners — Weekly, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm, Saturdays at 9:00am at the Columbus Statue in Schenley Park

The Greater Pittsburgh Road Runners Club — Oldest running club in Pittsburgh, since 1974. Meet multiple times per week with many road races scheduled. Check website for meeting times.

Fittsburgh is a great site promoting fitness and a healthy lifestyle in Pittsburgh. Lots of info on running, events, and other recreational opportunities.

Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

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Major running events in Pittsburgh

Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon + Half Marathon — The big event. Early May

Brewery Running Series. Numerous fun run events throughout the year that all start and end at local breweries.

Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race — Last Sunday of September. 10K run, 5K run, 5K walk. Over 11,000 people run the 10K every year.

Walk the Talk for Liver Health. First Sunday in October. 5k run/walk at The Great Allegheny Passage at the Waterfront in Homestead.

Spring Thaw 10, 15, or 20 miler — Held every year in late February as a warm-up for the Pittsburgh Marathon. Three long races held at the same time.

Just a Short Run — Late March. Another combination event. Given the distances to choose to register for are 5K, 8.1 miles, half marathon, or 30K road race, the name of this event is slightly ironic. Celebrating its 16th consecutive year in 2016, this event benefits The Leukemia &Lymphoma Society.

Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6 Mile Run and Family Walk — Early October. This odd distance is a tribute to Pittsburgh Penguins hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux (#66), and benefits the Mario Lemieux Foundation and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.