by William Park

For most runners pushing through a race, the direction on their mind is forward.

But next month for Fineview’s annual Step-a-Thon, however, all they’ll be thinking is up.

Held on October 19, the 5-mile race will ascend Fineview’s hills, street and staircases. Among the steps are the 331 steps – the equivalent of a 17-story building – of Rising Main Avenue. The course covers 12 public staircases for a total of over 1,600 steps.

Sponsored by the Fineview Citizens Council, the race aims to promote the neighborhood and attract visitors and future residents.

“I’ve heard people who’ve run either the Pittsburgh marathon or half-marathon, and they’ve said that the Fineview Step Challenge is harder,” said Michael Flaherty, the race director and treasurer of the Fineview Citizens Council.

While Fineview’s steps distinguish this Pittsburgh race from others, the Step-a-Thon also features stunning views. The race ends at the Catoma Street overlook with a view of the city skyline.

Participants have the option of racing as a team. Prizes will be awarded to the first place male, first place female and first place team. There is also an abbreviated 2.5-mile path that participants can choose.

“It’s really just a great way to bring overall awareness to the neighborhood,” Flaherty said.

The area’s great views and proximity to the downtown area, he mentioned, make Fineview a good attraction.

“Along with our continued housing development, we’re just trying to highlight the neighborhood as a destination for people to consider buying houses in,” he added.

Proceeds of the race will go to Citizens Council and go toward neighborhood cleaning and beautification projects.

The race begins at 8:30 a.m. For more information, contact the Fineview Citizens’ Council.

Step-A-Thon returns next month