As runners crossed the finish line for the 29th Annual Gatorade/Steelers 5K Race, they felt a sense of accomplishment, finishing the 3.1 race either in a personal best time, or in some cases for the first time.
They should feel a much greater sense of accomplishment.
The race is one of the main fundraising events for the Art Rooney Scholarship Fund, carrying on the memory of the late Steelers' owner Art Rooney Sr. Three graduating seniors from North Side high schools, one from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and two from Perry High School through the Pittsburgh Promise, are awarded a college scholarship, helping them with the ever rising cost of education.
The Steelers held the 29th annual Gatorade/Steelers 5K Race, Fitness Walk and Kid's Kickoff Run at Heinz Field. The race raises money for the Art Rooney Scholarship Fund.
This year's scholarship recipients, Dominic Serventi from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, and Samantha Ervin Upsher and Roman Ramsey from Perry High School,
"This It means I can go to school and study to try to make a career for myself," said Serventi. "It's an opportunity I might not have if it weren't for the Steelers organization and this race. It means that I am able to afford to go to college. Funds are tight. It's incredible. It's a great opportunity. And it's a great honor for them to consider me for it."
Serventi, who will attend Robert Morris University and study actuarial science, grew up a Steelers fan, so receiving a scholarship from his favorite team is a bit overwhelming for him.
"It's exciting," said Serventi. "If you grow up in Pittsburgh, you grow up a Steelers fan. I played football growing up. To have them give me scholarship money, it's crazy to think about it.
"The opportunity I am given is incredible. Everybody always looks forward to taking the next big step in their lives. Going to college is a big one."
Matt Spaeth, who played for the Steelers from 2007-210 and 2013-15, served as the honorary captain for the race. It was an event he heard about as a player, but didn't realize the impact it had until now. And it doesn't surprise him.
"The Steelers are such a great organization, and the Rooney family is special" said Spaeth. "They are hands on in the daily life of Steelers football and the community, they are accessible to the players and community. I doubt any other organization compares to that. That is what makes it so special."