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Pittsburgh's first-ever clean air dash and festival provides fun for all ages


The inaugural Clean Air Dash and Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19, in South Side Riverfront Park, beginning at 9 a.m.

This first-time event will celebrate Pittsburgh’s progress in reducing air pollution and challenge everyone to continue their hard work for clean, healthy air and for improvements in the region’s overall environmental health.

“We’re excited by the high levels of community and business support the Clean Air Dash and Festival event has received,” said Rachel Filippini, executive director of the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), which is hosting this event with support of the Breathe Project and dozens of area companies and organizations. “People recognize that air quality is still a priority issue in Pittsburgh and want to be part of the solution.”

The Clean Air Dash is a USA Track & Field-certified 5K on a flat and fast course suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Runners will enjoy a scenic race through one of the city’s most-loved greenways the Three Rivers Heritage Trail in South Side Riverfront Park. Attendees can also participate in a free one-mile fun run/walk led by the Allegheny County Health Department’s new director, Dr. Karen Hacker.

In addition to the 5K and one-mile events, a free community festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. featuring the Venture Outdoors climbing wall, yoga demos, music, food, and plenty of other family-friendly activities ranging from pumpkin painting to a Pittsburgh Passion obstacle course. Free bike valet service will be provided by Friends of the Riverfront and Bike Pittsburgh.

Making its debut at the festival will be Carnegie Mellon University’s Community Health: Air Pollution in Pittsburgh (CHAPP) mobile laboratory, which aims to make air pollution science more engaging and accessible. The mobile laboratory, housed in a van, allows people to interact directly with air pollution experts, learn about how air quality data is collected, and participate in crowd-sourced data gathering with rapid interpretation. CHAPP is operated by Albert Presto, assistant research professor of mechanical engineering at the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies at Carnegie Mellon.

“The Clean Air Dash and Festival is an ideal venue for the mobile laboratory,” Dr. Presto said. “The runners will be able to see air pollutant levels in real-time at the venue of the race. This will provide a great setting for teaching these athletes about air pollution in their communities.”

Group Against Smog and Pollution’s Athletes United for Healthy Air campaign, which benefits from funds raised by the Clean Air Dash and Festival, aims to educate athletes about our regional air quality issues, ways they can minimize their exposure to air pollution, and how to become champions for cleaner air.

“Pittsburgh often receives well-deserved recognition as one of America’s most livable cities,” said Marily Nixon, Breathe Project coordinator. “But we won’t be a truly livable city until we improve our air quality. The Clean Air Dash and Festival is a recognition of this problem and an emblem of hope for our cleaner, healthier future.”

Registration and a full list of sponsors, activities and exhibitors are available at


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