This was my second trip to the Philadelphia Marathon the first was in 2006. Four years and 12 marathons later I went back. A little older and a little wiser. The course had been changed a little, less hills, a slightly different path through the city to avoid crowding and a couple of odd out and backs in the last half to make the distance work. Overall, it’s a pretty flat course. The biggest hill is by the zoo (you don’t run through it so no cheering Elephants I regret to say) between the 8 and 9 mile mark. The course features an unofficial beer stop. You pass it twice on the second half of the course and you can smell it before you get there.
Philly is a great town. We went on one of those hop on/0ff bus tours which was a great way to see the city and save our feet. The Reading Terminal Market is a must do for runners because we all know we run so we can eat! It has seven bakeries including Beiler’s Donuts and Salads!
We stayed at the Best Western City Centre. I have to say it is not the “best” western I have ever stayed at but the location is outstanding. (ask JR Tremblay to tell that story).We could actually hear them calling everyone to the corals from the hotel lobby. No porta-potties, no bag check we went straight from the lobby to the start and from the finish line to get clean and take a shower!
Philly is a little different because they start the full and the half together in the same corals. I was lucky enough to get to start in the front coral but it was a strange way to start as I was passed consistently for the first 3 miles by men who were in the corals behind me and I was surrounded by people out to run sub 1:20 half marathons. Including two university age women who were obviously very hung over. As soon as the gun went off they took off and left me in their dust!
The weather race day was perfect. Sunny and cool (40F) at the start. Warm enough for shorts and a singlet but not warm enough to overheat. I think this was the first race in many years where I did not poor water on myself to keep cool. Reminds me why I run fall marathons.
The first half of the course goes through the historic sights of Philly which you can actually appreciate early in the race. The first mile follows the wide Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The course then narrows a little as it goes through the streets of historic Philadelphia. The first water stop is at about 2 miles. The water stops are not evenly spaced on this course, they are between one and two miles apart. At about 6 1/2 miles you cross the river and between mile 8 and mile 10 you tackle the only big hills on the course. The half way mark is close to the Rocky Statue but I did not see it and I certainly did not run up the steps! The second half of the course is basically an out and back along the river which I like because knowing where I am running helps to ease the pain of those last few miles. The unofficial beer stop is around the 19 mile mark just before the turn around so you pass it at about 20 miles too. They also had brownies at the 19 and 20 mile water stop.
I went out too fast. I always do but getting passed for the first 3 miles increased my natural tendency to do so! My spilt at the half was 1.30 something but the results show it as 1.32 something. I am pretty sure the 1.32 is wrong but I will go with that because it makes me look like I ran a more even split! The second half of the race is pretty flat and I am glad it is because after the turn around at 19.5 miles I had no interest in anything except the next mile marker and getting to the finish line so I could stop running! Final time was 3.05.52 a PB.
The results were a mess. They had the full and half results all mixed together (time they hired Sportstats) and nothing was posted but things appear to have been straightened out now.
Thanks and congratulations to everyone. It’s always a good weekend with you all even if I have to run a marathon.