Overall Rating
Overall Rating (44 Reviews)
4.2
(44 Ratings)  (44 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
3.8
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
4
In Philadelphia, we redefine the experience of what a marathon should be. A beautiful course, an engaging atmosphere — it’s no wonder we’re consistently listed among the top ten courses in the country, recognized for our flat terrain, mellow weather and spirited fans. Expect beautiful views through Fairmount Park and … MORE
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Recent reviews

    jlouder8 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I signed up for this race without doing much research, as a friend lived in Philly and I needed a Pennsylvania race for my 50 states goal. I did NOT … MORE

    I signed up for this race without doing much research, as a friend lived in Philly and I needed a Pennsylvania race for my 50 states goal. I did NOT realize this was a MASSIVE race with nearly 30,000 participants. That meant very long lines with COVID checks at the expo, and security lines to enter the race corrals (we barely made it in before the National Anthem and we got there early). Other than that, the race was gorgeous! Around freezing for the start, but warmed a bit when the sun came out, and it was a beautiful day. Seeing all the big sights of Philly, running past the Liberty Bell, through some hills in a local park. And one of my favorite medals to date! I would definitely run again, and it’s on my marathon to-do list when I wrap up 50 Halfs!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    RunnerGirlKT FIRST-TIMER '21

    I was thankfully also running the half marathon, or else the line to get into the expo would've been entirely ridiculous. My performance also would've been better if this race … MORE

    I was thankfully also running the half marathon, or else the line to get into the expo would’ve been entirely ridiculous.

    My performance also would’ve been better if this race wasn’t what amounts to the last 5 miles of an 18 mile run. The course is an out and back adjacent to the Schuykill River trail, so it’s definitely beautiful. It’s also the opposite direction from the finish of the half marathon, so you can get some energy off of the back of the pack finishers from the half and cheer them on as well. Race weather was also perfect this year and the crowds from the start until Logan Circle were nuts…but then there are no spectators really until you’re coming into the finish.

    The medal for the 8k is nice, not too small, but definitely not large. That being said, there are few 8k’s out there that give finisher medals at all.

    I was pleasantly surprised that the race provided enough food at the finish for the 8k finishers, even those of us at the back of the 8k pack, since the half marathon is the same morning, and just about all of the food choices were vegetarian or vegan which I appreciated greatly.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    [email protected] REPEAT RUNNER '21

    The Good - Philly is always a great *race*. The actual course and support is top notch. A bit of a quiet area during some critical areas (22-24) but the … MORE

    The Good – Philly is always a great *race*. The actual course and support is top notch. A bit of a quiet area during some critical areas (22-24) but the scenery along the river is great. Once you hit mile 25, the crowd definitely brings it.

    The bad – On the course, aid stations were very inconsistent. Some had Gatorade up front, others had Gatorade after water. Some aid stations had porta-lavs – others didn’t. Not a deal breaker but something that could be fixed very easily with a little better co-ordination. It did cause a lot of confusion with runners at times.

    The ugly — The start village! UGH!!! And not the first time – I remember similar issues in 2017 when I ran. There are three major things they can improve. Getting there is awesome – 100% great experience. The race has busses that pick up runners from affiliated hotels and drop you off outside the village.

    Then, you get to stand in line for security. We waited almost 25 minutes (being dropped off at 5:45am for 7:00am start). I get the need for security and 100% support it – it’s just the backup sets in motion a whole downward spiral of problems once inside.

    Porta-a-Johns — This! The lines for the porta-johns are ridiculous. The humorous thing is that there are dozens outside the secure area (for those waiting to come inside) that aren’t being used. Meanwhile, inside, the average wait for a porta-john is 30 minutes or more. Any experienced marathoner knows that there is a “timing” required – go too early, and you’ll be looking to get in line again which is futile. At the race start, each line was a minimum of 20 racers long.

    Bag drop-off — Philly implemented a new system of bag drop off that requires each bag to be re-tagged. This, also, resulted in lines for 25+ minutes to drop off a bag. The re-tagging is done for no good reason since each bib comes with a race number tag to affix to the bag. Combine this with the impossible lines for the porta-johns and you can see the issue.

    Post-race – Race finish was fantastic; at least when I got there. A runner that finished about an hour later complained of backups getting through the food tent. However, I had no problems other than trying to claim my bag (since I had to give it to another runner as my corral was under 5 minutes from starting).

    DIFFICULTY
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    2
    SCENERY
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    pavlostatseiko FIRST-TIMER '21

    Was very well organized, security gates, gear check, toilets, corrals, volunteers - everything was perfect. Finisher medal is amazing! worth the effort! MORE

    Was very well organized, security gates, gear check, toilets, corrals, volunteers – everything was perfect.

    Finisher medal is amazing! worth the effort!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
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    venu.vegesana FIRST-TIMER '21

    Best organized ..Easy corals, bag drop, expo and everything Aid stations almost every 1.5 mile Course is beautiful Awesome medal Definitely will come back awesome race MORE

    Best organized ..Easy corals, bag drop, expo and everything
    Aid stations almost every 1.5 mile
    Course is beautiful
    Awesome medal
    Definitely will come back awesome race

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    RunnerGirlKT REPEAT RUNNER '21

    This was my second time running the half marathon during marathon weekend in Philly. Because of COVID, all runners had to be fully vaccinated in order to participate this year. … MORE

    This was my second time running the half marathon during marathon weekend in Philly. Because of COVID, all runners had to be fully vaccinated in order to participate this year. That meant that there was an insane line to get into the expo since they had to verify vaccination status. Thankfully, I only had to wait about a half hour when I went, but I heard the wait got up to over 2 hours at times. The expo was also a bit smaller this year.

    Security on race morning was very efficient and the race even set up a warming tent for runners by the starting corrals.

    Race day was perfect weather and the course was a running tour of the city, passing by various historical landmarks and neighborhoods. That being said, the race was supposed to start at 7am to accommodate the new Patriot Challenge (running the half marathon followed directly by the 8k). Unfortunately, it didn’t start until about 7:20. Luckily, challenge bibs let you hop into any corral you want. I’d rather not start with much speedier runners, but time constraints necessitated it.

    The medal was awesome as usual, complete with a ringing Liberty Bell and the Patriot Challenge medal is equally awesome, not to mention rather huge.

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    ams925 FIRST-TIMER '21

    I loved seeing 13.1 miles of Philadelphia - course had a few small inclines in the second half, but it wasn't bad at all. There were great crowds of folks … MORE

    I loved seeing 13.1 miles of Philadelphia – course had a few small inclines in the second half, but it wasn’t bad at all. There were great crowds of folks cheering, and there was a fun medal at the finish!

    There were a few snags with COVID – long lines at the expo and to get into the race on Saturday morning – but given the circumstances, understandable.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    SCENERY
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    ginifurr REPEAT RUNNER '20

    This is by far the best half marathon I have run as far as scenery. You run all throughout Philly and the streets are shut down for you. It's amazing- … MORE

    This is by far the best half marathon I have run as far as scenery. You run all throughout Philly and the streets are shut down for you. It’s amazing- if you do any running events- you cannot miss this one!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
    SCENERY
    5
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    3

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    roisaac FIRST-TIMER '19

    I did the Marathon to complete the freedom challenge. The first half the course goes around downtown then the second half is an out and back Manayunk. I was working … MORE

    I did the Marathon to complete the freedom challenge. The first half the course goes around downtown then the second half is an out and back Manayunk. I was working on getting a PR, but the weather did not cooperate, we had all 4 seasons during the race so I missed out on my PR. But the race medals were awesome. The Freedom challenge medal is huge. I had my bib shipped to me, but from what I saw the expo was well organized.

    DIFFICULTY
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    Rebolation FIRST-TIMER '19

    Not so luck on my day, as it was very cold and raining throughout the race. One big positive item is the abundance of bathrooms along the course, I would … MORE

    Not so luck on my day, as it was very cold and raining throughout the race. One big positive item is the abundance of bathrooms along the course, I would say that every 3-4 miles there was something. They should change the course on the second half, as it is very boring to run down and up the same street for 10-12 miles, it also plays a big mind game on the runner. After party is not so good, either.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
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    2
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    2

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    marathonmom FIRST-TIMER '19

    Pros: Great crowd support. Very nice finisher's medal. Huge expo. Scenic course. Cons: Long lines at the security checkpoints. Horrible port-a-potties. Many of them were unbalanced, so when you walked … MORE

    Pros: Great crowd support. Very nice finisher’s medal. Huge expo. Scenic course.
    Cons: Long lines at the security checkpoints. Horrible port-a-potties. Many of them were unbalanced, so when you walked in, the entire port-a-potty swayed violently. Gross and scary.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    omnirunner FIRST-TIMER '19

    The hills on the elevation map look severe, but are not that bad. Total elevation gain is about 640 feet. There are 3-4 decent hills and many small hills. A … MORE

    The hills on the elevation map look severe, but are not that bad. Total elevation gain is about 640 feet. There are 3-4 decent hills and many small hills.
    A late November race in The North can be cold and this one was. We had a high in the low 40s, some wind and some rain. It actually snowed on the way back to the hotel!
    We took the train from Boston. Much more comfortable than a flight and we were 5 minutes from City Hall which was next to our hotel. It’s also a 5 minute walk from this area to the start/finish area.
    Bag drop and porta potties were not very convenient. They ran out of food and I was in the middle of the pack! Plenty of water stops and porta potties. Handed out gel at 3 locations.
    They used a virtual swag bag which I am all for, but there was nothing worthwhile in it.
    The Expo had many empty tables/booths but I saw Med and Dessy speak!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    My Report
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    4
    SWAG
    2

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    Lorelei FIRST-TIMER '19

    Meb and Des launched the marathon after imparting their words of wisdom and well-wishes. Then, they high-fived runners at mile 14. To be cheered on by elites is an incredible … MORE

    Meb and Des launched the marathon after imparting their words of wisdom and well-wishes. Then, they high-fived runners at mile 14. To be cheered on by elites is an incredible feeling.

    Packet pickup was mayhem. You had to stand in a different line to get your corral sticker. I’m used to being assigned to a corral prior to race day. Also, you don’t get assigned to a corral at all if you’re in a challenge. I was in a challenge so this added to the confusion. Do I get a corral? Do I not? To add, I was assigned to the wheelchair division, which was a mistake on their part. This meant I had to stand in their customer service line for a long time because only one person manned that station.

    Good stuff about packet pickup: we were given the option of ordering merchandise prior to expo day and have our things waiting for us. This was meant to keep you out of those long checkout lines. This worked out well!!! I was in and out of the pickup line in minutes! Highly recommend!!! Plus, I didn’t overspend.

    The starting line was a bit of a secret. Not well marked. I heard this was for safety after what happened in Boston years ago. There were also security lines to go through and we were advised to appear an hour and a half prior to race start. It was not difficult nor slow though.

    The first half of the course is hilly. Not enormous but not small either. Nice sized. The aid stations were about 2 miles apart, well-manned, and enthusiastic. Each one had water and Gatorade. Some had gels. The spectator aid stations were awesome. Jim Beam and chocolates! The scenery was gorgeous throughout. Monuments and sights. Or Schuykill River. Just beautiful.

    The second half of the course is an out and back to Mayanuk, which is a world all its own. This was mentally tough. When you enter this, you know you are seeing 12 miles of runners ahead of you. Talk about mind-blowing. But the crowd support is amazing.

    Portopots: they are especially disgusting and scarce here. Bring your own tissues. I’ve not seen it this bad at a marathon.

    Swag: the medals are AMAZING! Shirts are okay.

    Overall, a wonderful marathon. Truly loved it. It’s quite an experience and the course is amazing. The people of Philly are especially nice.

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    Lorelei Dec 08, 2019 at 3:32pm

    You met Meb??? I’m so jealous. And that out and back did seem to take forever no matter what the course map said. I did like that stretch though. In… MORE

    You met Meb??? I’m so jealous. And that out and back did seem to take forever no matter what the course map said. I did like that stretch though. In better weather it would have been fantastic. LESS

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    omnirunner Nov 30, 2019 at 4:33pm

    I thought the starting area was a bit of a disaster. Walking through mud to the bag drop? No porta potties near the start? The out and back in Mayanuk… MORE

    I thought the starting area was a bit of a disaster. Walking through mud to the bag drop? No porta potties near the start? The out and back in Mayanuk almost killed me! I thought we were running a mile or so to the turn around. But it kept going! I used a construction site porta-loo in Mayanuk. I thought the virtual swag bag was short on anything useful. I saw Meb and Des speak at the expo and they were amazing! LESS

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    Lorelei Dec 01, 2019 at 4:47am

    I agree on the start line. I asked around about it and heard that they had it that way for fear of a similar bombing incident like what happened in… MORE

    I agree on the start line. I asked around about it and heard that they had it that way for fear of a similar bombing incident like what happened in Boston. I thought that was a bit over the top, but okay. With that being said, I ended up in the wrong corral which served to help me in the end. As for the mud, the weather can’t be helped but I learned to come with disposable knee-high shoe covers to keep me dry, mud-free, and warm before the launch (you can get those off Amazon). The out and back was long, no doubt. That took a tremendous amount of mental grit. If you study the mile markers on the course map prior to the race, that can help you get mentally prepared. I loved the crowd support along that portion and I have to believe the cheers would have been more outstanding if the weather had been better. I loved Des and Meb! They are inspiring and breathing in the shadow of their greatness seems to add some glitter to the whole experience. Did you high-five them at mile 14? Congratulations on completing a marathon under the rough conditions we were faced with. There are extra bragging rights that come with conditions like those. LESS

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    omnirunner Dec 08, 2019 at 1:38pm

    Hi Lorelei, I saw Meb at the start but completely missed him at mile 14. I did meet him at the Boston Marathon Expo two years ago. What a great… MORE

    Hi Lorelei, I saw Meb at the start but completely missed him at mile 14. I did meet him at the Boston Marathon Expo two years ago. What a great guy. His talk at The Philadelphia Marathon Expo was inspiring. Not sure what I was thinking on the run out to Manayuk. I looked at the map but for some reason I thought is was just a mile or so to the turn around. I was not prepared for a marathon, but I ran a great 5K today. So that marathon training has paid off! LESS

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    vinicius-isola FIRST-TIMER '19

    It was a cold rainy day which didn't help. There're some hills, not steep, but long. There's also a very long part of the race where you go down, down, … MORE

    It was a cold rainy day which didn’t help. There’re some hills, not steep, but long. There’s also a very long part of the race where you go down, down, down while you see the early finishers going up, up, up. Then, obviously, you have to go back up, up, up. It’s a very long straight line besides the river. If it was a beautiful sunny day, I wouldn’t have felt so bad. But it was cold and rainy which made it hard and kinda depressing.

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    dbrown FIRST-TIMER '19

    Was very impressed with this event. Check in was quick and painless. Shirts for marathon were excellent quality and design (cannot say the same for what I saw on the … MORE

    Was very impressed with this event. Check in was quick and painless. Shirts for marathon were excellent quality and design (cannot say the same for what I saw on the 8k). Medal was very cool (and I am not big on medals). Their e-mail and Facebook posting were extremely helpful. Particularly liked the daily videos of 26 days to 26.2 miles. The course has some hills, but is still mostly flat-challenging for a runner like myself (only my second full marathon) but more than fair. A great route as you get to see a lot of the city; fan participation was fairly sizable despite the rain. A treat getting to hear Bill Rodgers and Bart Yasso speak at the expo. Also, how many races do you get to high five someone lie Kefleghizi on route or have him place the medal on you after you cross the finish line? A lot of nice little touches to this event-spend at least three nights so that you get to do the expo, see some of the city, do the race, and still relax. I won’t do this next year because I am already gunning for the Marine Corps Marathon, but I will do this one again in a couple of years.

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    omnirunner Nov 30, 2019 at 4:38pm

    The shirts were nice and I wore mine during the race. The Expo had missing vendors, but I did get to see Med and Des speak - totally awesome! They… MORE

    The shirts were nice and I wore mine during the race. The Expo had missing vendors, but I did get to see Med and Des speak - totally awesome! They ran out of food after the race and I was a mid-pack runner! Agreed that three nights is best if you want to see the city. We did two nights and left shortly after the race. My buddy didn't get to see anything besides what he ran past during the race. LESS

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    dmouth11 Nov 24, 2019 at 3:45pm

    Agreed, LOVED this race today and almost completely agree with you! I would not say it's a 1 shoe difficulty though. There were a good amount of rollers to keep… MORE

    Agreed, LOVED this race today and almost completely agree with you! I would not say it's a 1 shoe difficulty though. There were a good amount of rollers to keep it interesting, but it was definitely hillier than anticipated. LESS

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    dbrown Nov 24, 2019 at 6:40pm

    You are probably correct about the course rating. Thought about giving it a two. Gradual incline at first in University Center, a higher one after that, and the one leading… MORE

    You are probably correct about the course rating. Thought about giving it a two. Gradual incline at first in University Center, a higher one after that, and the one leading up to Fairmount Park was no joke. Rolling hills of Manayunk started to tighten my hamstrings so yeh, I may have rated this a little too easy. LESS

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    dwhit490 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Awesome race! Had a ball! Well organized, large race. It was very cold, but a perfect day for my PR. The race support was great with plenty of water/gatorade/gel stations. … MORE

    Awesome race! Had a ball! Well organized, large race. It was very cold, but a perfect day for my PR. The race support was great with plenty of water/gatorade/gel stations. Large finishers medal. I love Philly and this was a great way to get Pennsylvania under my belt. The only thing I would have enjoyed more is if the post race food was Cheesesteaks and pretzels!

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    roisaac FIRST-TIMER '19

    I ran this right after the half-marathon so I ended up having to walk it. But it was a nice out and back course. This is a very scenic course. MORE

    I ran this right after the half-marathon so I ended up having to walk it. But it was a nice out and back course. This is a very scenic course.

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    GOLEAFS FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race is the race to run in Philadelphia. The expo was easy to navigate and all the info you needed was right there. I liked the long sleeve shirts. … MORE

    This race is the race to run in Philadelphia. The expo was easy to navigate and all the info you needed was right there. I liked the long sleeve shirts. The only bad thing about the race was the very long and slow security lines to get into the race corrals, it was very disorganized. The course is really good, with some inclines starting at around mile 8. The crowd support was excellent and water stations were well placed and staffed. The finish line food was ok and the medal was really nice and well designed. As far as I am concerned this race blows away the Rock n Roll half in September.

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    Easy packet pickup, there is a 0.5-1+ mile walk from hotels to start/finish. Show up early as security was not well orchestrated. There were no volunteers to tell you what … MORE

    Easy packet pickup, there is a 0.5-1+ mile walk from hotels to start/finish. Show up early as security was not well orchestrated. There were no volunteers to tell you what line to get into (bag or no bag) I was in line an hour before i got to a volunteer who provided directions, make it to my corral with <5 minutes to spare. Course was scenic, mostly flat and no traffic to deal with. My GPS showed 13.54 miles… looked at others, they were 13.4+ miles… so that was odd. Great city to spend a weekend in,

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    RunnerGirlKT FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was my first year running the half marathon. I ran the full marathon back in 2016. The race expo is relatively large, with speakers like Meb and Des Linden … MORE

    This was my first year running the half marathon. I ran the full marathon back in 2016.

    The race expo is relatively large, with speakers like Meb and Des Linden being presented by Bart Yasso. There was also a meet and greet with Meb and Des, but you had to pick one (though you could get on line to meet the other after). I chose to meet Meb and, despite being told it was either a photo or an autograph, Meb both signed my bib and took a photo with me. The race shirts are tech long sleeves and are pretty nice, the marathon ones being light blue and half marathon being Navy.

    The weather for the half was gorgeous and the crowds definitely came out because of it. Course support was awesome. The race is not flat, but the hills on the course are more inclines (and some long inclines) than steep and short. I’m convinced that mile 11 was just about all uphill.

    After the race, the food options included juice (apple and orange), water, chips, Nature’s Valley granola bars, and my personal favorite street pretzels. We also got pretty awesome medals (silver in color for the half, gold for the full, otherwise identical) that include the Liberty Bell (which rings!).

    Definitely a more enjoyable race and course than Rock n Roll in September, especially because it was not hot and humid.

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