NEW YORK, November 16, 2012 — More than 30,000 runners are descending on the City of Brotherly Love this weekend for the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, November 18. The event will be the largest in the race’s 19-year history, with more than 12,000 runners taking on the half-marathon and 17,000 runners tackling the marathon.
The race weekend also includes the Rothman Institute 8K and Kids Fun Run on Saturday November 17, and a two-day Heath & Fitness Expo on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17.
Living up to its moniker as the City of Brotherly Love, the already sold-out Philadelphia Marathon added an extra 3,000 bibs solely for runners of the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, which was canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Philadelphia Marathon officials doled out the extra spots through a lottery system. Half of the $200 race entry fee for lottery runners is being donated to the Hurricane Relief Fund for the American Red Cross.
“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the many challenges created by it, we are honored to welcome New York City marathon participants to Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in a press release. “We understand that marathoners have invested a great deal of time, training and dedication to prepare, and so we’ve decided that adding up to 3,000 competitors is something we can do to support the running community.”
Another 350 New York City Marathon registrants got into the Philadelphia Marathon through the race’s charity program, where runners agree to raise money for one of the event’s charity partners in exchange for a bib in the race.
All this makes for the biggest and most publicized Philadelphia Marathon in the event’s history. The Philadelphia Marathon was already the eighth largest marathon in the U.S. with just over 10,000 finishers in 2011, according the Running USA. The addition of 7,000 runners this year nearly doubled the race’s field. In addition, organizers expect 60,000 spectators to line the course on Sunday morning.
Participants initially slated to run the more challenging and hilly course of the ING New York City Marathon are in for a treat in Philadelphia. The course has a reputation for being relatively flat and fast with a scenic tour of the city’s most famous sites including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Friendship Gate, South Street, Fairmount Park, Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill River and, of course, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, made famous by the film “Rocky.”
I will be among the 17,000 marathoners charging the streets of Philadelphia. It will be my fifth marathon. As a New Yorker who wasn’t planning to run the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, I’m excited that the race is welcoming so many runners from my hometown event. Many of my teammates from my local running club in NYC won bibs in the post-Hurricane Sandy lottery. With more than a dozen of us running and many more coming to cheer, the race will feel like a local event to us, event though we’ll be 100 miles and 2 hours from home.
Having run the ING New York City Marathon three times and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon once, I’m also looking forward to a smaller big-city marathon than those two World Marathon Majors behemoths, which are the largest and second largest marathons in the U.S., respectively. Philadelphia’s reputation among runners is largely positive with the caveat that 60,000 spectators stretched along 26.2 miles is quieter than it sounds.
But after four months of training, I’m not in it for the spectators, but for a challenging foot-tour of one of America’s oldest and greatest cities.
For more information at the race weekend and surrounding events, visit PhiladelphiaMarathon.com.
Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runner’s weekly lifestyle web show about running. She has completed four marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.