Association of International Marathons and Distance Races

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Race previews

01 July 2013, 7am

What enjoys the colors red and black, grows bigger each year and arrives every November to the delight of nearly 100,000 people?

Philadelphia Marathon’s 20th Anniversary

Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon
Sun 17 November 2013

It’s the Philadelphia Marathon, a first-class event ranking among the top-ten largest United States marathons. This year marks the Philadelphia Marathon’s 20th Anniversary — a milestone year featuring three days of excitement, competition, and fun.

“This is a city born to run,” Philadelphia Marathon Executive Director Desiree Peterkin-Bell says. “I look forward to opening up our beautiful city to the many runners, fans, and volunteers who will experience Philadelphia’s unique combination of history and innovation.”

The Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 17 highlights a weekend of dynamic events that also includes Saturday’s 8K race and the Kids Fun Run, a noncompetitive event promoting healthy living among children ages 6-14. A free two-day Health & Fitness Expo officially kicks off 20th Anniversary Weekend on Friday, Nov. 15. Activities feature a mix of educational and entertaining programming along with dozens of exhibitors offering the best food and latest sports apparel and equipment.

20 Years, For the Love of Running™ is this year’s theme, reflecting the Philadelphia Marathon’s journey from a small, localized race into a highly-anticipated event. After starting with about 1,110 runners in 1994, the Philadelphia Marathon plans to host more than 30,000 registrants this year. The growth is a testament to the marathon’s emergence as an ideal event for Philadelphia’s visitors and residents. The race hosts runners from all 50 states and 40 countries, offering a mixed national and international field.

Runners will enjoy running through a mostly flat and scenic course that passes many classic and contemporary landmarks. Along the course runners will travel through iconic sites such as Independence Hall – where our Founding Fathers created our nation – and the Philadelphia Zoo (America’s first zoo), to the Barnes Foundation (which recently opened), as well as the expansion along Drexel University’s urban campus. Runners will experience the beauty of Fairmount Park, the nation’s largest municipal park with over 9,000 lush acres and 215 miles of jogging trails. With a level course that doesn’t reach higher than 150 ft., runners have a great chance to earn a personal record. Last year, the Philadelphia Marathon had the fourth most finishers complete the race in less than four hours in the country.

The Philadelphia Marathon has also emerged as more than an athletic competition. Philadelphia has grown to become marathoning’s best host city. Visitors to Philadelphia are treated to a dynamic showcase, both on and off the race course as many corners of the community will connect including hotels, businesses, spectators, charities, running clubs, competitors, their families and tourists. Travel + Leisure ranked Philadelphia first in several categories including best overall culture, best historical sites/monuments, and most sports-crazed city in their America’s Favorite Cities survey. Philadelphia Marathon Weekend infuses culture, entertainment, art, and education into a welcoming event for both city residents and tourists.

Philadelphia Marathon race organizers have created an experience where The Best Time of Your Life™ is a reality for more than 30,000 runners, 60,000 spectators, and 3,000 volunteers.

Registration for the Philadelphia Marathon, a Boston-qualifier, can be found at


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