About Us | The Great Race

History of the Great Race

41 Years and Running Strong

The annual Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race started in 1977, when former Pittsburgh Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri established the race as a “community fun run.” Since that inaugural competition, 250,000 people have participated in The Great Race, making the event the largest 10K race in Pennsylvania. The popular fall fitness classic has expanded to include a 5K run/walk, a running clinic, the Junior Great Race, and more. 


1977-1979

  • Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri establishes The Great Race as community “fun run” and appoints Leonard Duncan race director. (’77)
  • Carl Hatfield of Philippi, WVA, wins inaugural Great Race.
  • Numbered Popsicle sticks serve as timing device. (’77)
  • Frisbees serve as timing device. (’78)


1980-1984

  • Race attracts 10,000 runners from three countries and 25 states. (’81)
  • Team competition is established. (’81)
  • Race is named the largest road race by The Runner magazine. (’83)
  • Bernie Caplan becomes race director. (’84)


1985-1989

  • Computerized registration and timing is introduced. (’86)
  • Race sets registration record to date: 12,807 participants. (’87)
  • Mike Radley becomes race director. (’87)
  • Race hosts The Athletics Congress (TAC) Masters 10K National Championships. (’89)


1990-1994

  • Race officially becomes “Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race.” (’93)
  • 5K run/walk is established and attracts 865 participants. (’93)
  • Laura Mykytok sets current 10K female course record of 31:02 (’94)


1995-1999

  • Junior Great Race is established for children 12 and younger. (’95)
  • Stephen Nyamu sets current 10K male course record of 27:09 (’95)
  • “ChampionChip” electronic scoring chip for shoelace is introduced. (’99)


2000-2004

  • Great Race cancelled due to City of Pittsburgh fiscal crisis. (’03)
  • Great Race returns – nearly 8,000 runners and walkers participate. (’04)
  • “On Your Mark with Highmark Youth Challenge” is introduced to encourage children to compete in community footraces. (’04)


2005-2009

  • Finish line temporarily moves to Gateway Center during park renovation. (’06)
  • Finish line returns to Point State Park. (’08)
  • Partnership with PRC creates “Great Race Grows Green.” (’08)
  • “ChronoTrack” disposable timing chip on bib is introduced. (’08)


2010-Present

  • Race becomes one of 31 races worldwide to receive “green” certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. (’11)
  • Brian Katze becomes race director. (’15)
  • 21 men – known as “Perfect Great Racers” – keep streak alive by completing 40th consecutive race. (’17)