Race Date: November 20, 2016
Weather: COLD and WINDY!
Course: Rolling hills
Run Again: Definitely
I went into the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon with some personal drama swirling in my life (my car broke
down in Philly rush hour traffic on Friday before the race and a building blizzard was threatening my
return home after the race.) That drama, combined with weather that was straight outta the Arctic made
for some last minute adjustments to my race strategy (this term is used loosely.) At one point I had
been hoping to nail a decent time in Philly, but decided to settle for a fun day. In fact, I went into
the Philadelphia Marathon with only one goal – to thank at least 22 volunteers throughout the day (as
this was marathon #22 for me.)
As for the race logistics, the City of Brotherly Love really rolled out the welcome mat for runners
for this race. I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Center City Philly – a reservation I made through
the race site. I was not overly expensive like some other bit towns (I’m looking at you NYC,) and it
was within walking distance to the expo and lots of good eats (the Reading Terminal – go there!) Also,
they gave runners an automatic late checkout on race day. Very cool.
My main concern was getting from the hotel to the Start Line on race morning as it was about a mile
away, but it turns out there were shuttles running back and forth from all participating hotels to the
race start/finish. I heard from other runners that this was the first year they were doing this and it
was definetly a welcome addition.
The 7am race start was perfect – not too crazy early like say Disney but not too late in the day like
NYC. As I mentioned, it was exceptionally cold and windy on this particular race morning but officials
opened up the massage tent so that runners could get out of the wind and even turned on the heaters.
The only negative was that it was hard to leave that warm tent to head out to the corrals!
If you’re familiar with Philadelphia, you’ll be glad to know that the race course takes you on an
excellent tour of the town. You’ll start at the famous Art Museum (the Rocky stairs!!), and run along
the river before passing the zoo, and a number of cool museums. The crowds were fantastic – with a big
shout out to the folks in Manayunk – and really brought the energy, even on such a cold and windy day.
The back half of the race is an out-and-back toward Manayunk which I initially dreaded (who wants to
watch runners finish when you still have 12 to go,) but it actually turned out to be fun and
distracting to see all of those super-fast runners barreling their way toward the finish line.
As for the eats, Philly did not disappoint. It probably had everything to do with the cold, but they
served up some warm chicken broth at the finish line that was beyond delicious. After the race, I
walked straight from the Finish Line to the race shuttle and back to my hotel for a shower before
driving back home.
Overall, the Philadelphia Marathon was a well-oranganized, fun race that is well worth the effort.
Would I run it again? In a heartbeat. But how about a little less wind next time, please?