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Saturday, July 22, 2000 -- Pittsburgh, PA
Pirates Family Fun Run/Walk
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]

Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

The Parrot
Even The Parrot gets out for a run around the ballpark
On a great Saturday morning, at Pittsburgh's soon to be replaced Three Rivers Stadium, the Epilepsy Foundation Western Pennsylvania (EFWP) surely put the "fun" in the 12th Annual Pirates Fun Run/Walk. There are no race numbers, no official times, and no winner is crowned for being the fastest. This is a race where everyone is a champion as they put forth their best efforts in supporting the EFWP's dedication toward the prevention, control and community understanding of epilepsy/seizure disorders.

The EFWP appreciates the support and in return provides thanks with lavish pre- and post-race parties. As the huge crowds mingled with Pirate pitcher Chris Peters, the Pirate mascot The Parrot, WTAE/TV Action Sports' Andrew Stockey and throngs of fellow runners and walkers, the list of amenities was staggering. With goodies provided by Coca Cola, Fikes Dairy, Old Time Coffee, CoGos, Tyler Mountain Water, and Dunkin' Donuts, you were certain to get all the pre-race eats and drinks you could handle.

Finish line
A race for the finish
However, after the last donut crumbs were washed down with a nice rich cup of coffee, it was time to complete the task at hand. A 3.1-mile run for some, or a 2-mile walk for others, not to mention those that skated, scootered, or hitched a ride, to the finish. It didn't really matter if you were walking your dog, pushing the kids, or just giving a helping hand, it was just about enjoying the morning with friends and family while helping to better the community.

Adding to everyone's enjoyment was the excitement of reaching the finish inside Three Rivers Stadium, a spectacular center field finish. With the stadium slated to be replaced before the next baseball season, it would be the last time most folks would ever set foot on center field at Three Rivers. Even though it really wasn't a race to get there, making the trip the quickest was Clarion University track and crosscountry runner, 20-year-old Jerry Smith. He sprinted out in front of everyone from early on, to finish in 16:55. Chasing him "the whole way" to the finish was his summer training partner, Slippery Rock University runner, Nathan Snider (17:04).

Just one of many winning teams!
Many, many more racers of all ages made their way onto center field, with still more refreshments waiting. After taking in the sights from inside the park, it was time to return to the parking lot for more festivities. Back outside the stadium the official post-race tailgate was in full swing. With hotdogs and hamburgers cooking on the grill, bags of candies, cookies and more distributed, what else could you ask for except maybe a visit from the Iron City brewery. Well, wouldn't you know they were on hand, too, letting everyone (over 21) enjoy a truck load of their finest Iron City products. Oh, and did we mention all the great prizes that were randomly distributed? Wow, all this and it wasn't even noon yet!

Feeling a bit tired from such an eventful morning, it was time to say goodbye to another Pirates Family Fun Run/Walk. This one would certainly be remembered for the great time that it was, and everyone could leave feeling good knowing they'd earned all the generous rewards. Even the event director, Judy Painter, couldn't help but smile as she continued to work into the afternoon with the crowds now gone. "We truly appreciate everyone who contributed today," said Judy. Well, I think we at least a thousand folks who certainly appreciate all that Judy, her many volunteers, and all the generous sponsors had done on this special morning. We'll be looking for you to join everyone when they do it all again in 2001.