Running Philadelphia? Train with a Philly playlist

Get ready to run the Philadelphia Marathon and Half-Marathon with this playlist inspired by the City of Brotherly Love. Photo: M. Kennedy/GPTMC

NEW YORK, September 19, 2012 — The Philadelphia Marathon on November 18 is just two months away. To inject a little excitement into your training routine, try this playlist inspired by the City of Brotherly Love.

In no particular order, these songs about Philly make for good running company. Enjoy and please list any other great Philly running songs in the Comments section below.

1)   Gonna Fly Now, Bill Conti

No Philadelphia running mix would be complete without the theme from Rocky, Philadelphia’s unofficial ambassador.  

2)   I-76, G. Love & Special Sauce

This ode to the Philadelphia 76ers and the highways of Philly is sure to help you find your running groove.

3)   Summertime, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

It wouldn’t be a proper Philadelphia playlist without some Will Smith and his ode to hot summer days in West Philly. For more comic effect, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire” theme song would work in a pinch too.

4)   Streets of Philadelphia, The Fray

Yes, The Boss’s version is the original and but The Fray’s rendition feels a little more raw and running friendly. Either way, lyrics like “I walked the avenue, ‘til my legs felt like stone” don’t get any better for marathon training.

5)   Philly Night, Berry Jones

A 2010 retro dance pop number from Philly collective Berry Jones. It’s the perfect song for when you need to pick up the pace.

6)   Ring My Bell, Anita Ward

Okay, it’s not exactly about Philadelphia, but the City of Brotherly Love is home to America’s most famous bell. We can all pretend lyrics like, “Let yourself be free” are about the Liberty Bell.

7)   Ill State of Mind, MC NeeKo featuring Deana Marie

No, it’s not something you can download from iTunes since it’s simply a remix of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” with lyrics about Philadelphia. Regardless, it’s a fun riff on local pride, and that’s coming from a New Yorker. Check it out on YouTube.

8)   Philadelphia Freedom, Elton John

Dedicated to Billie Jean King, who coached the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team, and the Philadelphia Soul music movement, this song is groovy time capsule right out of the 70s.

9)   Motownphilly, Boyz II Men

“Live and direct from Philly” Boyz II Men brought us “all the Philly steaks you can eat.” Um, yes please!

10)  Punk Rock Girl, The Dead Milkmen

This Gen X anthem recorded in 1988 features Philly locations of yore in lyrical references to Zipperhead, a clothing store, and Philly Pizza Company, which were located on the city’s famous South Street.

11)  Eye of the Tiger, Survivor

The theme from Rocky III sits on many a running playlist and for good reason. Just think of it when you’re bounding past the Art Museum at mile 26, ready to claim your moment of glory.

Karla Bruning is a veteran journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, two triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine,,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

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