Edgeworth Farmer Wins Marathon!

Friday, May 1, 2020 | 1:25 PM

Pittsburgh’s first marathon was run 30 January 1909 and won by William T. Shannon, who worked on his father’s Edgeworth Lane dairy farm.

On the morning of the race, rail cars carried runners and coaches to the 12:30 start in Rochester, Beaver County where an estimated 10,000 spectators had gathered. The course followed the Beaver Road through the river towns into Allegheny City before crossing the bridge into downtown Pittsburgh and ending at the Press Building.

Runners, some of whom were dressed in heavy winter clothing, had to contend not only with cold and rain, but also an icy and at times muddy, rutted road. The stretch between Haysville and Glenfield was said to be a foot deep in mud. Spectators lining the route into the city were quick to offer runners food and drinks.

City streets were so full of onlookers that it was difficult for runners to make their way through the crowds, but at 4:11 that afternoon, young Shannon was the first of 157 runners to cross the finish line, becoming an instant Pittsburgh sports celebrity. Afterwards, Shannon continued running for a short time before focusing on his Bell Acres dairy farm and Sewickley real estate business.

To read more local history, visit: http://bellacresborough.org/community/history/

To share stories/photos, email:   history@bellacres.org