Once you’ve run the Philadelphia Marathon or Half Marathon, you’ll have no doubt that this city is about more than just cheese steaks. With weather that’s (almost) always perfect, a reasonably flat course and tremendous spectators, the Philadelphia Marathon makes PR’s happen – and still gives you a great experience when they don’t. It’s been a special favorite of the Clif Bar Pace Team for years – and for more than the cheese steaks.
The start of the race is at 17th and Arch Streets; just look for the avenue lined with international flags. As always, we’ll be lined up along the right hand side of the street with our finish time signs and balloons about 30 minutes prior to the start. The Philadelphia starting area is very crowded and therefore critical for your safety, and everyone else’s, that you line up in your assigned corral. Be prepared for a chilly start; though Philadelphia almost always delivers ideal running conditions, it takes a few hours to get there. Have plenty of throwaways to keep comfortable, and hold on to at least one of them for the first several miles.
After the traditional remarks from Mayor Nutter and Runners World’s Bart Yasso, you’ll be headed off into Center City Philadelphia, toward the iconic LOVE statue and fountain before turning onto Arch Street. Be careful in your first mile. Not only is it crowded, but as you approach the statue and fountain, there are some challenging turns and medians. Watch yourself, and those around you.
Your first three miles will take you past many famous Philly sites: the Terminal Market, Independence Hall, Constitution Center and the US Mint. From there, you’ll head down toward Penn’s Landing and the pier as you approach the mile 3 marker. Here’s the reason for hanging onto those throwaways – it’s often chilly down here by the river, and in colder years, best to wait until you’ve passed this area to officially toss those throwaways.