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Friday, August 15, 2014

The Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Run and Family Walk

How many differently distanced races have you run?  Millions of people have participated in the most popular race distance - 5K.  Other popular distances include the 10K, the 10 miler, and the 13.1 mile half marathon.  But have you ever participated in a 6.6K?

6.6 kilometers is roughly 4 miles and it is certainly a unique distance for a race.  So why run 6.6?  Pittsburghers and hockey fans recognize the significance of the number 66.  Penguins' center Mario Lemieux wore number 66 from the time he joined the team in 1984 until he played his final game in 2006.  Lemieux is an inspiration to any athlete.  Not only was he a skilled hockey player who led the team to back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in the 1990's, but Lemieux also proved his tenacity when he returned to the game after battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Lemieux raises the cup.  Photo from

The Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Run and Family Walk celebrate the spirit of Mario Lemieux by challenging athletes of all ability levels as the events raise money for two Pittsburgh charities, The Mario Lemieux Foundation and The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.  The former raises money for cancer research and patient care, as well as to create playrooms for children and families whose members are currently receiving treatment in medical facilities.  The latter promotes physical fitness and teamwork to young people through hockey and other activities.

The 6.6K run, and corresponding 1 mile walk will be held on Sunday, October 5, starting and ending at the Penguins' home stadium, Consol Energy Center.  It is an urban race, running through Pittsburgh's downtown streets, so there should be plenty to look at along the course, ample crowds to cheer runners along, and only minimal, gradual hills.  Children and adults of all ages are invited to participate in the 6.6K event.  The 1 mile walk also welcomes participants walking well-behaved dogs.  (Dogs are not allowed in the 6.6K.)  Both distances welcome children in strollers, though the 6.6K asks those pushing strollers to please stay at the back of the pack.

The afternoon sun christens the newly built Consol Energy Center during the opening game in 2010.

The event itself is fun and supports two worthy causes, but there are other activities in store for participants.  The Penguins are hosing a unique post-race party to punctuate a uniquely distanced race.  After the events, the Pittsburgh Penguins welcome all participants and volunteers to stay and watch the team's open practice starting at 11:00 am.

Early bird registration for the 6.6K ends TODAY, August 15, with fees of $30 for participants age 14 and over, and $20 for participants 13 and under.  Starting August 16, registration will be $35 for 14 and over, $25 for 13 and under.  Registration for the 1 mile walk is $20 regardless of age or date, but families of 4 can register for the discounted rate of $70.  Children age 5 and under are free with a participating adult.

Celebrate the spirits of Pittsburgh, the Penguins, and Mario Lemieux by running, walking, or volunteering as part of this race.  If nothing else, you will get to cross a great new distance off of your list. (And earn a PR, provided you haven't run 6.6K before!)  If you ran the 6.6K in its inaugural year last year, you already know what a special event this is.

Registration closes September 28th.  Not interested in running or walking?  Volunteers can sign-up here.  The Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Run and Family Walk is sponsored by Consol Energy.

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