The 5K race kicked off Pittsburgh's marathon weekend without a hitch as the starting gun firing precisely as planned at 8 a.m., unleashing more than 2,000 runners.

With the statue of Honus Wagner and a sparse but upbeat crowd looking on, it took all of the runners nearly two minutes to get to the starting line near PNC Park on West General Robinson Street between Tony Dorsett Drive and Mazeroski Way. The last of the runners to get underway in the UPMC Health Plan/UPMC Sports Medicine Pittsburgh 5K Run was a man who juggled three balls, apparently needing more of a challenge than the 3.1-mile course.

The sky was sunny and the temperature was 48 degrees with a slight breeze as runners of all ages, sizes and abilities traversed the course that that wound through the North Side, crossed the Allegheny River over the Andy Warhol Bridge, and moved down Seventh Street to Wood and the Boulevard of the Allies, ending near Stanwix Street.

Police were at intersections, a River Rescue boat patroled under the bridge and emergency vehicles were staged but despite the heightened security because of the Boston Marathon bombing, pedestrians were not impeded in getting from here to there.

Along the route, spectators cheered and yelled encouragement to the runners.

In all, it was a pleasant prelude to the most anticipated, important race of the weekend, at least among parents and their progeny--Sunday's Toyota of Pittsburgh Kids Marathon!

Michael A. Fuoco: or 412-263-1965.