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home > races/results > usa: pennsylvania > philadelphia marathon, half marathon, and rothman institute 8k—historic course, fast times, and a lot to love

Philadelphia Marathon, Half Marathon, and Rothman Institute 8K—Historic Course, Fast Times, and a Lot to Love
Coming November 23, 2008, a Marathon and Half Marathon—and 8K too—starting and finishing at the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art (Rocky loved those steps). Enjoy a culturally rich and wonderfully diverse city, a Health and Fitness Expo, Runner’s Buffet Dinner and much more. A terrific city tour will put you at liberty for your best marathon!

Philadelphia Marathon, Half Marathon, and Rothman Institute 8K—Historic Course, Fast Times, and a Lot to Love

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By Noreen Cohen
Posted Thursday, 18 September, 2008

Fifteen Reigns Supreme
Join the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Philadelphia Marathon. The historic City of Brotherly Love will host this tremendous event for participants from all over the USA. There are more landmarks and significant historical locations along this course than any other; it is a run through history. The Philadelphia Marathon enjoys the reputation of being the nation’s twelfth largest marathon, and 2008 is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever. It is no surprise that exceptional organization and planning are the backbone of the Marathon’s success. Marathoners and half marathners are sure to enjoy the scenic course through one of America’s great cities. And as if that were not enough, there is also a fantastic 8K and a Kids Fun Run that are guaranteed to thrill. Add to that, a weekend of family events focused on fun and fitness and you have the makings of a truly memorable experience.

There will be a cap on participation at 18,000 (10,000 for the marathon, 6,000 for the half, and 2,000 for the Rothman Institute 8K). Total prize money will be $34,200 ($19,500 for the marathon, $10,200 for the half, and $4,500 for the 8K). All races award the top five in youth and five-year age groups through 70 plus. (Please see the race Website for prize details and information on the Seeded Runner program.)

These three races run on Sunday, November 23, starting and ending near the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art; the marathon and half marathon share the first 13.1 and step off at 7:00 a.m., with the 8K incorporating some of the same course and beginning at 7:15. The rapidly growing and highly acclaimed kids’ runs (distance according to age and all non-competitive) run on Saturday, November 22nd.

Except for the B.A.A. Boston Marathon itself, Philadelphia has traditionally sent the highest number of qualified runners to Boston. Exciting, fast and flat, this course is also well supported by a highly organized and dedicated volunteer effort. The course will remain open for a full seven hours, allowing the participation of a variety of runners and even walkers.

The Treasure of Philadelphia
The word is getting out! In case you haven’t heard Philadelphia is the place to be. No resting on its laurels for this city. In the last decade, Philadelphia has undergone a major transformation. This truly a wonderful place offers a fascinating variety of things to do and see. With a unique blend of past and present, Philadelphia just doesn’t quit when it comes to providing something for everyone. Rich in history and the arts, the city has a sense of style and grace that is all its own. A mecca for iconic symbols such as the Liberty Bell, it also has its share of off-the-beaten-track treasures. You will be amazed at what you can discover: everything from charming neighborhoods and fabulous restaurants to museums and cultural events. Shopping, sightseeing, sports, architecture, you name it and Philadelphia has it. An excellent public transit system, SEPTA, makes it easy to get around the city. There is a wealth of information on lodging, transportation, and restaurants at so be sure to check it out. In addition to all these wonders, Philadelphia is easily accessible by train or car. As a matter of fact, Philadelphia’s location is one of its major assets; New York, Washington and Baltimore are just around the corner. Grab your family and friends and start planning your adventure in Philadelphia now.

On Your Mark… Get Set Feast
This is one Philadelphia Marathon tradition that you won’t want to miss! The annual Runner’s Buffet Dinner will be held on Saturday, November 22, (5:00 p.m and 6:30 p.m seatings) at the Pennsylvania Convention center, 12th & Arch Streets. In addition to good cheer, enjoy a delicious assortment of fresh meats, pastas, salads, vegetables and deserts. There will also be live entertainment including music to set the mood for the race. Be sure to get your tickets early, as the dinner usually sells out quickly. On line registration is available, or you purchase tickets at the Expo.

Health and Fitness Expo
The Philadelphia Marathon Expo will be bigger and better than ever and will be housed in the state-of–the-art Pennsylvania Convention center. Packet pickup is available throughout the expo beginning Friday at noon and running to 7:00 p.m.; and starting at 10:00 a.m. right up to 7:00 p. m. on Saturday, November 22. Please note there is no race day registration and also no packet pickup on race day, Sunday the 23rd. Packets, including shirt, bib, and chip, must be picked up prior to the end of the Expo on Saturday. On-line registration through will be accepted through midnight, November 14th. Mailed applications must be postmarked by November 10 to give the race committee ample time to fully prepare for the race. Applications will only be accepted until the field limits are reached.

The Expo is well worth a visit for runners and spectators alike. Exhibits will include information and products on health and fitness, apparel, accessories, nutrition, hydration, related products, and shoes. There will be information on Philadelphia attractions, restaurants, hotels, travel, and available activities to help you fully appreciate and guide your visit to the City of Brotherly Love. And you will be able to purchase official Philadelphia Marathon merchandise—very handsome indeed. Enjoy several very informative seminars by experts in long distance racing and preparation. Lastly, you may purchase your valued tickets for the runners’ buffet dinner.

Spotlight on the Course
It is only fitting that in a city that has been shaped and defined by history that the Marathon and Half Marathon course should read like an historical and cultural tour. First-time visitors will be amazed that these historic buildings exist in the middle of a busy city. Runners will pass Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution had their roots. Other highlights include Penn’s Landing on the Delaware where the colony of Pennsylvania began more than a century earlier. Runners will be going so fast past the Liberty Bell that they won’t notice that the word Pennsylvania is spelled incorrectly on it! They will journey past Congress Hall where George Washington and John Adams were inaugurated as the first two presidents of the United States. The second half of the marathon runs along the idyllic Schuylkill River and through Fairmount Park the largest urban park in the country.

Right Foot Forward
The marathon and half marathon start simultaneously at 7:00 a.m. on November 23rd just southeast of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street. This is only a few hundred meters from the finish line. The first half of the marathon is shared by the half marathoners and begins with a clockwise loop to the south and east with a stretch along the Delaware River. It then loops west and north, crossing the Schuylkill River and heading toward the northwest section of the city. The half marathon finishes with a counter-clockwise loop around Eakins Circle, while the marathon runners continue north along the east shore of the river. The second half is very scenic and much less urban with the river and parkland bordering the entire course.

The course heads straight west on Chestnut Street and crosses the Schuylkill River for the western-northwestern loop. The University of Pennsylvania is just west of the river with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, and the Institute of Contemporary Art on this beautiful, historic campus (dates from 1740). Runners then pass Drexel University as they head north for a pleasant loop past the Philadelphia Zoo and into Fairmont Park and near Memorial Hall. Then MKL Drive (formerly West River Drive) carries the field along the Schuylkill River back to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The second half of the marathon passes Fairmont Water Works Interpretive Center, Lemon Hill and a gorgeous series of historic buildings within the East Shore portion of Fairmont Park: Mt. Pleasant, Laurel Hill, Fairmont Park Historical Houses, Woodford Mansion, and Strawberry Mansion on beautiful tree-lined roads. The return along the river is inspiring and motivating. You will hear the Rocky theme in your head as you return to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Fast Race, Fun Place
Whether you are interested in making great time or just having a great time, the 2008 Philadelphia Marathon is for you! Celebrating its 15th year, the Marathon will spotlight 26 miles and 385 yards of history. Runners zip through hip and historical areas, from Center City to Old City. It is no wonder that one of the nation’s fastest courses was proclaimed by Runner’s World as “the best place to run a Boston qualifier”. Come for a weekend of fabulous races, family events, fun and fitness.



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