Archive for May, 2015

MKTG Rewards: The Key(s) to Happiness

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CDEach quarter, MKTG INC staffers select one lucky MKTGer for a reward trip to a destination of their choosing. Upon their return, winners are asked to report on their trip and make us all sick with envy. Here’s the rewards recap of Charlie DeCrescenzo, Account Executive, in MKTG INC’s New York City office.

Work travel can be exhausting. The early flights, the multiple hotels, kayaking in mangroves, hopping from beach to beach – we’ve all been there. Alright, so maybe this trip to the Florida Keys wasn’t exactly a typical trip through work. It was, however, an incredible experience that got me through one of the colder winters I can remember and I am incredibly appreciative for it.

I have to preface this by thanking MKTG INC and in particular, my colleagues, for voting me into such a unique opportunity. Being recognized by my peers for a domestic trip anywhere in the country is the greatest form of flattery I can think of. Thank you again.

When offered a free trip for you and a guest of your choice, it’s amazing how many long lost friends come out of the woodwork just to say “hi.” It’s also a challenge when both parents offer their services as travel companions, especially after a fellow coworker previously took his mom on a safari to Africa with his trip (thanks a lot, Jav). In the end, my best bud since kindergarten won the bid and it all worked out…I think.

Next was the decision of where to travel. At first we considered going somewhere unique to us, maybe Colorado for skiing or Alaska to explore the wilderness. But then this past winter happened and the thermometer was below freezing day after day. This made the decision pretty easy: the turquoise water and warm beaches of the Florida Keys was the clear answer.

We started our voyage in Ft. Lauderdale where the air temperature was a perfect 80 degrees and the water temperature was only 5 degrees colder than that. My friend and I just took the day to hang out on the beach and wait until our bodies figured out what this “sun” and “warm air” were. It was simple, but it was a great and much needed day of rest.

The next day began our tour of the beautiful Keys, starting with Key Largo. Best known for its John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, we took advantage of the opportunity and went kayaking in its famous mangrove water trails. An hour and fifteen minutes later we had conquered all available trails, fought some tough ocean currents, and we couldn’t lift our arms anymore. To deal with the pain we checked out the happy hour at a place called the Bayside Grille which, if you ever find yourself in Key Largo, I highly recommend. The combination of the sunset view, the seafood ceviche, the old timers Jimmy Buffet-esque cover band, and the array of koozies available to all customers really makes it one of my top picks from the trip.

After a night in Key Largo, we moved the convoy down to Marathon for a 2-night stay. Marathon is about the mid-point of the Keys so we felt it was a good location to spend the rest of our trip in. It also meant that we would be driving back and forth throughout the Keys, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The drive can be slow at times, but it really is one of the most picturesque drives you can take. On the way to Marathon we detoured to a famous pit stop called Robbie’s where travelers can feed the 5-foot long fish-monsters called tarpon. These tarpon were massive and would suck the fish right out of tourists’ hands as they leaned over on the docks. We didn’t end up actually feeding the tarpon, but watching fellow tourists get attacked by either a tarpon or an even more ferocious pelican was certainly a spectacle worth seeing. Seriously though, those pelicans were mean.

After dropping our bags off at the hotel in Marathon, we headed straight for a Saturday night in Key West. I mean you can’t be in the Keys without going to Key West, right? There we saw an incredibly talented street performer juggle fire and swords while balancing on a rolling board while doing push-ups (or something like that). We traversed the town by going from live cover band to live cover band at every bar until we found the one that felt right. We also came across someone dressed up as Darth Vader on the street who was playing an LED-lit banjo. Yea, Key West was a lot of fun.

The rest of the trip was mostly comprised of driving around discovering small hidden beaches, eating as much seafood as humanly possible, and trying our best to deny the fact that we were eventually going back to 15-degree weather with a wind chill of -75.

This rewards trip couldn’t have come at a more perfect time to mentally and physically escape the dark and dreary winter we had this year. It was an amazing opportunity to explore a part of the country I hadn’t seen since I was a child and allowed me to rub it in all of my friends’ faces as I sent them photos throughout the process. I want to thank MKTG again for providing me the opportunity to have such an incredible experience that I will not soon forget. For those looking to get away from it all, the Keys certainly know how to unlock the happiness inside.

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Guest Q&A: Joey Jalleo, Standard International, talks Met Ball, Bora Bora and Burberry

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Joey Jalleo Photo by Jerome Jakubiec


For this month’s Guest Column, we sat down with Joey Jalleo, VP of Culture and Communication for Standard International, the parent company for The Standard Hotels in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. Joey has been with The Standard for six years and following being part of the team that launched NY’s hottest hotel property, The Standard, High Line and its storied nightclubs, the Boom Boom Room and Le Bain, he now oversees all PR, programming, digital initiatives, special projects and culture for all five Standard-branded properties in the US. Joey joined after ten years working in PR/events for some of the world’s biggest luxury consumer brands. He brings his understanding of the events and media business, as well a passion for art, fashion, entertainment and design to his job every day, to ensure that his properties continue to be some of the most popular and highly-regarded in the world.

We caught Joey, bright eyed and bushy tailed, the morning after their annual Met Ball After Party at the Top of the Standard (aka The Boom Boom Room) in NYC.  


Thanks for joining us today Joey!  We know that last night, you hosted one of the most popular events of the year on the NYC social calendar – the “unofficial” after party for the storied Met Ball. How did this begin and how did it go this year? 

In May of 2010, I asked André [Balazs] if we could open the Boom Boom Room on a Monday night (a night we are normally closed) so that we could throw an informal after-party to the Met Gala uptown.  It’s NYC’s star-studded event of the year, but for us, it was meant to be casual…nothing too over-the-top; like a house party.  I reached out to our fashion designer and society friends, and invited a few of them down to the property post gala.  Before I knew what was happening, word had spread and the room was filled with all the uptown attendees who trekked from the Upper East Side to the Meatpacking District. That night was incredible and everyone had an amazing time and felt part of something special. That night laid the foundation for what was to be a momentous annual tradition for The Standard.

2015 was no exception. 

MKTG did the research and learned (although Joey wouldn’t confirm, being the consummate professional that he is) that the following celebs attended the after party until the wee hours at The Top of the Standard: Katy Perry and John Mayer, Leonardo diCaprio, Bradley Cooper, P Diddy, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Jessica Alba, Allison Williams, Robert Pattinson and his fiancée FKA twigs, Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Chase Crawford, Jennifer Connelly, Elizabeth Banks, Naomi Campbell, Matt Bomer, Mickey Rourke, Kate Mara, Emily Blunt, Gigi Hadid, Adriana Lima, Joshua Jackson, and of course, Standard founder, Andre Balazs and many others, including DJ Samantha Ronson who kept people dancing all night.

STANDARD NYCViews from The Standard High Line NYC

You attend a ton of events around the world. Where have you been most recently and what about the event do you remember most?

I love how digital has been woven into events, especially when it is done well. While in Los Angeles a couple of weeks back, I was very fortunate to be invited to Burberry’s London in Los Angeles fashion show and party. It was truly spectacular. They took over Griffith Observatory. Everyone was in attendance…the Beckham Family, Elton John, Cara Delevingne, Rose Byrne, Kate Beckinsale, Mila Kunis, Ryan Seacrest and Anna Wintour to name a few. Jourdan Dunn opened the show. Naomi Campbell closed. They flew in ten real guards from Buckingham Palace (First Battalion Grenadier Guards to be exact) to walk the runway post-show. As they got to the end of the catwalk, the massive Burberry walls opened up to reveal the after-party on top of the hill overlooking Los Angeles.  SPECTACULAR!!

Burberry-the-show-6-Vogue-17Apr15-pr_bAs the Grenadier Guards’ drums beat, the models and guests file out onto the lawn for the party.

Have you experienced something at an event recently, technology or programming-wise that blew your mind? Where was it and what was it?

At the same aforementioned Burberry event, they had the guards perform a “show” while an extensive video projected across the building’s facade featuring digitally reproduced guards parading across the building. Also, their invitation for the show and party arrived in video form. Impressive.

You’re quite the jet setter. What’s been the best trip/city place or places and why? 

I am grateful for all of the amazing places I get to see as part of my job, and I travel quite often but mostly to our properties in LA and Miami, or to London. But a few weeks back, I traveled with my family to French Polynesia. Wow. We were there for ten days and started our trip on a small island an hour out from Tahiti call Huahine. The crystalline waters, the perfect weather, the fresh food. All incredible. Then we spent four days on a catamaran with a captain and chef where we toured the islands of Raiatea and Taha’a. The only way to end the trip was with two days in Bora Bora in over-the-water bungalows.  The lagoons were our private swimming pools, and I finally understood what heaven on earth meant.

What’s your personal mantra or quote you live by and why? 

“Leap and the net will appear” because you can never take out an insurance policy on a risk with real return.

paddle boarding JJ Joey’s last day in Bora Bora

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In support of Charles Schwab’s launch of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios™, we constructed a two-story Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Pop-Up Lounge in two major cities – New York and San Francisco between March 16th and April 1st.

The consumer engagement launched in New York’s iconic Grand Central Station within Vanderbilt Hall and then on to San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza. With a focus on commuter locations, this effort merged sophisticated style, technologies and partnerships. In line with the technology-based product, we provided consumers with an interactive robot barista making and delivering coffee, multi-touch IR tables, second story LED screen and an automated ordering system for complimentary coffee provided by Nespresso.

CSOur lounge served as a conduit for Schwab financial professionals to speak with consumers about the product and a place to enjoy coffee with free WiFi. The activation was positioned to live beyond the physical space through social the extensions @SchwabBlue and #Ownyourtomorrow.

The overall results were very strong as it relates to eyes on the product, lounge visitors and meaningful one-on-one engagement.

Brook Soss contributed to this article.

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Meet Your Maker in Texas

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This year’s Austin Food + Wine Festival offered more than just a yellow rose of Texas; JW Marriott, as an official sponsor of the event, presented a bold-name lineup of wine and spirit makers to host tasting sessions in their warmly intimate “Meet the Maker” space. The wine and spirits makers included Tito Beveridge from Tito’s Vodka, Nate Weis from Silver Oak & Twomey Cellars, Daniel Barnes from Treaty Oak Distilling, Renee Airy from Duckhorn Vineyards, and David Page from Tequila Herradura. In between tasting sessions, mixologist, JW Marriott partner and Tippling Bros. co-founder Tad Carducci served up specialty cocktails to highlight some of the brands from the tasting sessions.

During the festival, more than 3000 festival-goers stopped by the “Meet the Maker” tent, including chefs Tim Love, Richard Blais, Jenn Louis, Ken Oringer and Steve McHugh.

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MKTG INC Rewards: Big Rewards on the Big Island

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Each quarter, MKTG INC staffers select one lucky MKTGer for a reward trip to a destination of their choosing. Upon their return, winners are asked to report on their trip and make us all sick with envy. Here’s the rewards recap of Brandon Lee, Senior Account Executive, in MKTG INC’s New York City office.

Most people don’t get to travel and write about their experiences for a living. I… also don’t get paid to do this. But for one day, I get to tell you about the Rewards Trip I took to the Island of Hawaii, also known as Big Island. The Big Island is aptly named – it’s more than twice the size of any other Hawaiian island and the breadth of what you can see there makes you feel tiny and insignificant – in a good way. Here are some things I’ll never forget about my trip:

Manta Rays
In Kona, manta rays with wingspans of 12-16 feet gather nightly to feed on plankton. We went with Kamanu charters to snorkel among them as they glided and somersaulted underwater in search of dinner, occasionally brushing up against us in doing so. The first time seeing one of these creatures appear just inches beneath me was breathtaking, and I could hear everyone else’s excited yelps through their snorkel masks. The boat ride there wasn’t bad either, catching a beautiful sunset with humpback whales swimming by.

Volcano National Park
Due to the current flow location, I’ll have to make another trip to Big Island to catch a view of lava up close, but even seeing the bright orange glow from afar at night in Volcano National Park was awesome. During the day, we drove the Chain of Craters Road, passing previously active craters and ending with epic views over oceanside cliffs, created by old lava flows. We also hiked across the crater of the most recent volcanic eruption on Big Island, the Kilauea Iki Trail. It’s pretty crazy to walk past steam vents and stand on what was a lake of lava just decades ago.

B Hawaii

Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea is largely considered the world’s best location for stargazing, which makes it good enough for a sunset too. The drive up to Mauna Kea alone nearly sidetracked us into missing sundown, with amazing views in all directions, but we made it to the summit in time, perched ourselves on a rock and watched the sun slowly disappear over craters on the horizon. After night fell, the sky was still amazingly bright because of all the stars and planets that I never see from NYC.

I don’t normally get excited about tuna sushi here on the east coast, but tuna (poke) in Hawaii is a completely different story. The tuna by itself is silky, and delicious, but Hawaiians take it to another level, adding onions, sesame oil, seaweed, and sesame seeds. The finished result is a food worthy of the top-rated US restaurant on Yelp (Pro-tip: hit up Umeke’s as well to decide which poke is better – I won’t judge you).

After this trip, I have to say that Big Island is my favorite island in Hawaii, and I couldn’t have had this experience if it wasn’t for MKTG and all my co-workers, so thank you for your support. If you are ever planning a trip there, let me know and I’ll gladly share my Google map/recommendations. There are plenty of coral reefs, black sand beaches, sea turtles, waterfalls, caves, plate lunch restaurants, and shave ice spots we also got to enjoy during our vacation.


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Coachella 2015: Never Ending Flow of Don Julio Tequila at Neon Carnival

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Neon Carnival, the invite-only, after-party to music festival Coachella, returned for the sixth year in a row, but according to LA Times, “this year was bigger and better than ever.” Festival goers enjoyed a “never-ending flow of cold Don Julio tequila” served from the Airstream Speakeasy while partaking in carnival games, rides and dancing late into the night to music by acclaimed DJs Ruckus, Jesse Marco, Kayper, Politik and surprise appearance by A-Trak. Attendees also enjoyed Don Julio’s custom experiences, which included a Don Julio ring toss game and Don Julio giant slide. In addition to Hollywood elite, numerous celebrities were in attendance and enjoyed Don Julio VIP bottle service such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Aaron Paul, Alexander Wang, Ashley Greene, Brian Greenberg, Chanel Iman, Hilary Duff, Jamie Chung, Jared Followill of Kings of Leon, Joe Jonas, Julianne Hough, MUSE, Scott Eastwood, Stacy Keibler and more.

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What’s In Your Wallet, Kerry?

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Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). This column takes a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hears the stories behind them. Here’s the story behind the business card of  Kerry Lange, VP, Strategy & Operations in MKTG INC’s San Francisco office.

Kerry knows how to connect people, ideas, strategies and the dots.
I am the epitome of a connector – Malcolm Gladwell could have written about me in The Tipping Point. If you need a job, have a job, or have any kind of need whatsoever, I can probably connect you to someone who can help.

I’m also one of those weird people who can instantly envision what an event or experience is going to look like, and can drill down to the nuts and bolts of how it’s all going to come to life. Guess that’s why I do Strategy and Operations.

From locally sourced bourbon brine to nationally recognized above-the-line, Kerry knows quite a bit about a lot of things. She can throw down on beacon technology while heating it up over bacon mixology. She can quote Blondie lyrics while spouting urban farm statistics.
Yes, this is dorky, but I actually read the dictionary and encyclopedia (as books!) in elementary school. I love to get into analytical discussions about whatever my current obsessions are – right now it’s cutting edge technology for events, the local and artisanal food movement, and always, music. Thankfully I live in San Francisco, which is a rich resource for all three. And I do a mean Blondie at karaoke!

Basically she IS ambient context identification, in human form. We definitely advise opting in.
I love the idea of getting the information I want, when I need it, in exactly the right context. iBeacons can be such a cool way to create a deeper connection and interactive experience, making you feel like you have the world right in your hand. Imagine attending Jazzfest, and while you’re walking around you get a notification that your favorite jambalaya stand is only 50 feet away, and that the blues musician you want to see starts in 15 minutes – makes it so much easier to plan the perfect day and not miss out on the things you love. I expect to see a lot more brands and events opting in to this awesome technology.

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May the 4th Be With You

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For most of us, today is just another Monday. But for Star Wars superfans, it’s a day to celebrate the intergalactic phenomenon that continues to have an impact on filmmaking, pop culture trends, and the concept of an alternate reality where a woman with two buns on the side of her head is both desirable and very attainable.

As someone who is, at best, indifferent to the Star Wars legacy, my interest was piqued when I stumbled on an article that depicted May 4th as the biggest holiday on Star Wars fans’ calendars. An entire day dedicated to Luke Skywalker & Co.? I admit, even I was curious to discover what it was all about.

And here’s what I got.

Choosing the month of May was no coincidence. Not only did the saga debut on May 25th, but George Lucas’ birthday was May 14th, and has served as the traditional start date of the notable Star Wars Weekends in Disney World. But the term itself was first put to paper in 1979, when author Alan Arnold recalled the manner in which Margaret Thatcher celebrated her victory as becoming Britain’s first female prime minister. Upon being elected, Thatcher’s party turned a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News into a literary dedication to Star Wars, officially coining the line, “May the 4th” and further proving the extent to which the films have influenced the masses.

With the anticipated release of The Force Awakens, this year seems to be an especially exciting one for Star Wars fans, as companies and brands are discovering new ways to be inspired by the saga. In the UK, Sky announced that fans will be able to live stream all six films, back to back over a 48-hour period, beginning today. A Japanese Airline is in the process of creating an R2-D2 Jet, a 787-9 Dreamliner that is set to hit skies this fall as part of a five-year Star Wars project. And need I mention the memorabilia, activities, and ways in which fans are able to express their inner Star Wars nerdom? It’s practically endless. (i.e., this, this, and that).

Will you celebrate Star Wars Day? Has this cluster of newly found, slightly dorky knowledge convinced you to learn more? Maybe, maybe not. But there is something to be said for a cinematic saga that, after 38 years since its initial release, still has the power to consistently inspire and influence people (and Halloween parties) all over the world.

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Employee Appreciation Day

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One of our favorite traditions here in Atlanta is our annual Employee Appreciation Day, which just took place on Thursday, April 23rd. This day is a welcome diversion to take a load off and as Team Epic’s Melanie Hatcher put it: “play hooky while AT work.” More than anything, it is a way to stop and appreciate all of the good people who make this one of AJC’s Top Workplaces!

The day started with free Chick-Fil-A for breakfast, which is always the best way to start a day in Atlanta, home of Chick-Fil-A. From there, everyone signed up for a complimentary massage and car wash.

Once noon came around, lunch was served outside on a beautiful afternoon from one of our favorite mobile food services: fresh Woodfired Pizza. You can find S & J Woodfired Pizza at festivals around Atlanta and so it’s a pleasure to have them cater a unique lunch experience for everyone in the office.

For the late afternoon, it was time to win some prizes with bingo, raffles, basketball, and beer. Up for grabs were multiple gift cards, free Reebok shoes, and even new free 42” televisions!

Finally, it wouldn’t be an Employee Appreciation Day recap without the inaugural psLIVE Darts Championship, help from 9am and coming to its dramatic conclusion around 6pm. Featuring 22 [mostly] talent dart throwers, each round proved to be as much fun to watch as it was to participate. When the dust settled and all of the bullseyes were hit, Matt Barth emerged victorious to cap off what was, once again, a great day for everyone to feel appreciated!

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Game On, Pittsburgh!

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PrintPress Release: April 30, 2015

Americans Ready to Race at 7th DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon

P3R offers $132,000 overall prize purse plus $40,500 American Development Program and 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying bonus monies in the Steel City on Sunday, May 3

PITTSBURGH, PA – Defending Marathon champion Clara Santucci and top American male Tyler McCandless lead the U.S. contingent for the 2015 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon set for Sunday morning, May 3 in the Steel City.

Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R), the event organizers, are offering $132,000 in guaranteed prize money with $8000 for the Marathon champions and $6500 for the Half-Marathon winners. In addition, P3R continues its support of American athletes by offering $40,500 in U.S.-only bonuses at both events as part of its American Development Program (ADP). There is also a bonus of $10,000 for the first person breaking Marathon event records: 2:10:24 by John Kagwe (KEN) in 1995 and 2:29:50 by Margaret Groos (USA) in 1988.

“Our theme this year is ‘Game on Pittsburgh’, and with deep fields and prize money, we look forward to our athletes being ‘on’ this Sunday morning to produce exciting races and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying times in the City of Champions, and we could also see an event record or two broken,” said Patrice Matamoros, P3R CEO.

The ADP prize purse goes 5 deep per gender – provided race time standards are met:
Marathon (Men 2:25 or faster and Women 2:50 or faster): $4500, $3500, $2500, $1500 and $1000
Half Marathon (Men 1:12 or faster and Women 1:22 or faster): $3000, $2000, $1000, $750 and $500

U.S. athletes also have the opportunity to earn bonuses if they achieve the “A” or “B” qualifying standards for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials hosted by the ASICS LA Marathon on Saturday, February 13.

In addition to Clara Santucci (2:29:54, personal best) and Tyler McCandless (2:15:26), top Americans expected in Pittsburgh include:

U.S. Men
Tony Migliozzi (2:17:27)
Jed Christiansen (2:18:31)
Bryan Morseman (2:19:57)
Tyler Sewald (2:25:00)

U.S. Women
Yihunlish Bekele (2:30:39)
Devon Yanko (2:38:55)
Christina Murphy (2:39:15)
Emily Potter (2:39:55)
Emily Gordon (2:39:58)
Anna Weber (2:50:01)
Emily Giannotti (debut)

U.S. Men
Josh Dedering (1:03:31)
Christian Thompson (1:04:31)
Jeff Weiss (1:04:40)
Nik Schweikert (1:05:52)
Alex Koksal (1:09:24)
Josh Carson (1:09:28)

U.S. Women
Caitlin Comfort (1:12:16)
Carly Seymour (1:14:04)
Jennifer Bigham (1:15:59)
Sara Zambotti (1:16:58)
Kelsi Nutter (1:17:05)
Heather Utrata (1:18:56)
Kate Hails (1:19:58)
Mindy Sawtelle-Zottola (1:20:16)

P3R’s American Development Program includes the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon, GNC Live Well Liberty Mile on July 31 and EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler tentaively scheduled for October 25.

For more event news, go to:

About the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon
Join us for the ultimate experience that will take you on an unforgettable journey. The 2015 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon is more than just a run. With 30,000 competitors and $25,000 in prizes, you’re sure to have one incredible adventure. Runners and spectators will play through 7 months of virtual and old-fashioned competition – starting at registration, continuing through training and culminating with one epic weekend of games.

Organized by the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R), the 7th edition is set for May 2-3, 2015. For more information, go to:

About the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R)
Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R) is a non-profit organization which promotes the love of long-distance running and enhances community involvement in fitness activities through high quality events open to a wide variety of ages and ability levels. Our events will consistently serve the needs of our runners and our sponsors; will engage and reward our volunteers; will enhance the economic well-being of the Pittsburgh region; will partner with public and private entities to create the best possible event experience; and partner with appropriate charitable organizations to give back to the community.

See more at:
FACEBOOK: DSGPM    TWITTER: @PghMarathon    INSTAGRAM: PghMarathon

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