Another pretty good year

Ken Andreyo photo

It may not have the same cache as the Pittsburgh Marathon. But for 33 years, the “Pretty Good Race” has marked the end of the Immigration Course for incoming CSD doctoral students, and the beginning of another school year.

According to a history of the race written by Phil Miller, the PGR was created in 1981 from an idea by then-faculty member Phil Hayes, who had run a 10K that summer during an AAAI conference. The name was suggested by Bruce Lucas (CS’81,’84) as a spoof of Pittsburgh’s 10K “Great Race.”

The first PGR took contestants on a three-mile trek through Schenley Park, and it was won by Rich Korf (CS’80,’83) and then-assistant professor of computer science Elaine Kant.  The current race, now a 5K, has been renamed in honor of the late “Coach” Jim Tomayko (DC’71,’80), former director of the master’s in software engineering program and a one-time high school track coach. Open to more than just folks from the School of Computer Science, the SCS Coach Tomayko Pretty Good Race starts and finishes under the Panther Hollow Bridge, near Phipps Conservatory.

Nearly 70 people competed in this year’s PGR, held Sept. 6. Most runners took about a half-hour to complete the course, while “race-walkers” take a little longer. This year, Jeff Bigham, associate professor of human-computer interaction, won the men’s category by completing the race in 17 minutes and 49 seconds, while in the women’s category, Jamie Morgenstern, a computer science Ph.D. student, won for the fourth consecutive year and set a new course record at 19 minutes and 40 seconds.

Most of us would probably agree that’s more than just “pretty good.” 

—Jason Togyer (DC’96)

For More Information: 

Jason Togyer | 412-268-8721 |