Overall Rating
Overall Rating (16 Reviews)
4.5
(16 Ratings)(16 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.6
SCENERY
3.8
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
3.8
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

    ashleekucinski FIRST-TIMER '15

    Pros: -Pretty flat course, with only one section with incline (even that wasn't too bad) -Easy access to start line and easy navigation to the front of the pack at … MORE

    Pros:
    -Pretty flat course, with only one section with incline (even that wasn’t too bad)
    -Easy access to start line and easy navigation to the front of the pack at the start line
    -TONS of crowd support near the finish and throughout the course
    -Lots of history surrounding the course – so cool!
    -Finisher medal and gear is great!

    Cons:
    -No corrals (at least the year I ran it), which might be irritating for some
    -Food at the finish could have had more substance/variety
    -Bag check/metal detector is far from the race start, so if you need to leave warmer clothes in your bag, you have to walk awhile without them (i.e., in the cold) to the start line and deal with being cold until the race starts

    Overall, I’d absolutely recommend this race. The course is interesting, with the exception of a few monotonous park-like areas, and the swag/support is fantastic. Plenty of hydration throughout the course, and the chance to visit a cool city in the U.S. Will be back!

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    4
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    plb25 FIRST-TIMER '12

    This is a great race! The course is pretty flat and the weather is usually perfect for running. There is one big hill by the zoo but other than that … MORE

    This is a great race! The course is pretty flat and the weather is usually perfect for running. There is one big hill by the zoo but other than that it is pretty flat. It is awesome running through Center City around the college campuses and down broad street. Love this race!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
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    5

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    BrooklandRunner FIRST-TIMER '07

    This was my first time running Philly. I toured the city before the race. It was the only race I remember where I had to go, and found a port … MORE

    This was my first time running Philly. I toured the city before the race. It was the only race I remember where I had to go, and found a port o potty at mile 10. Manayunk was a nice little town at the out and back turnaround, and I turned on a fast final mile.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
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    3
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    4

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '09

    Philly was hillier than expected. This was my second time running it. Looking back, I compare my performances to pre BQ days and post BQ days. My second time through … MORE

    Philly was hillier than expected. This was my second time running it. Looking back, I compare my performances to pre BQ days and post BQ days. My second time through Philly was pre BQ. The course is nice and the race is well organized. Take my advice and hire a coach and run as many miles as you can fit into your schedule.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
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    3
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    hpets FIRST-TIMER '18

    Philly is a good time! Ran the Philly half marathon for the first time. The expo was easy to navigate, the course hit great historical locations and the pre and … MORE

    Philly is a good time! Ran the Philly half marathon for the first time. The expo was easy to navigate, the course hit great historical locations and the pre and post race events were well run. I stayed in Center City and had no difficulties getting around.

    Crowd support was great and energizing. The medal is a classic (the bell rings!) and the race shirt was well designed – really liked that it outlined the course on the back by highlighting all the historical stops. In short, I would run this race again!

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    demman1024 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I would highly recommend this race, especially for those going for the 50 states. The course was so fun, seeing all the historical sights. But it was hilly. I had … MORE

    I would highly recommend this race, especially for those going for the 50 states. The course was so fun, seeing all the historical sights. But it was hilly. I had hamstring issues so I struggled pretty much throughout the race and I tried not to let that influence how I felt about the race itself because the volunteers were so cheerful and had so much energy, as did the spectators. It was like I had my own cheering squad for 26.2 miles! Since I had to run slower due to injury I was able to take more of it in. I stayed at the Hampton and was able to walk to the expo and the start line. Although I don’t recommend walking to the start line, I had 6,000 steps before I even started the race!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
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    2

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    dsbland FIRST-TIMER '18

    After a difficult training period where I had to deal with several nagging injuries, the Philadelphia Marathon turned into a wonderful experience. I stayed at the Sheraton on 2nd Street … MORE

    After a difficult training period where I had to deal with several nagging injuries, the Philadelphia Marathon turned into a wonderful experience. I stayed at the Sheraton on 2nd Street and had walking access to the expo and start/finish line. The Rocky statue and museum steps were about a 15 minute walk away as well.
    The expo was good, although smaller than I would have expected for a large race. They had everything covered, though, and there was plenty of branded merchandise for sale. Being someone who enjoys a good expo, this one was fine and had good information about the course available.
    Philadelphia runs their half marathon on the Saturday before the marathon instead of running it with the marathon. It was fun to go down and cheer on the half marathoners, something I have rarely had the opportunity to do in the past. I was concerned that this format would mean the marathon wouldn’t have much support because people wouldn’t want to come out two days in a row. Thankfully, this was not the case at all.
    The weather in the days leading up to the marathon included snow, drizzle, and lots of cold. Sunday morning started at 34 degrees with no precipitation and virtually no wind, perfect conditions. The sun peaked out a few times but otherwise the clouds kept the sun away. I think this contributed to overwhelming support from the people of Philadelphia. There were plenty of “dead” areas of course, but everywhere supporters gathered they were loud and fun and gave the runners the needed burst of energy to keep going.
    The course itself was good, the first half was the same as 95% of the half marathon and passed by plenty of landmarks and interesting sights. The biggest pain in the first half is that you pass the start/finish area around mile 13, not something I wanted to see at that part of the race!
    The second half of the marathon was a huge out and back along the Schuylkill River. This was a fairly quiet section of the race, the spectators were widely spread out but again they were loud and fun. With the turn around being at Mile 20, this actually proved to be a nice boost for me at a time I really needed one. As long as you’re OK running 12 miles passing people going the other way, the out and back won’t be a big deal.
    The finisher area was great, plenty of food and various drinks of all kinds. This was the first race I have run that had a warming tent and I spent about 20 minutes there after my finish. I never got really cold during the run, but felt the chill big time after the run. The medal is awesome, the bell actually rings which made the finisher area sound like a million little Salvation Army bell ringers randomly ringing their bells.
    This race was a lot of fun and after having the injury issues over the summer and early fall, this was a finish that 2 months ago was seriously in doubt. The people of Philadelphia were warm and welcoming and the race was given a ton of attention around the city. I highly recommend this race!

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    M_Sohaskey Dec 03, 2018 at 1:32pm

    Congrats Scott! I'm sure your Philly phinish was all the sweeter having overcome recent injury to get it done. The more I read about Philly, the more I warm up to the idea of running it as my PA race. And an actual ringing Liberty Bell is a pretty clever choice of medal. Glad to hear you're fully recovered, and hope this bodes well for big things in 2019. Thanks for another awesome review!

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    roxy031 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I’d signed up to do the Philly Love Half in March 2018 but the freak snowstorm canceled my plans. So this was my makeup Philly race and it was great! … MORE

    I’d signed up to do the Philly Love Half in March 2018 but the freak snowstorm canceled my plans. So this was my makeup Philly race and it was great! It snowed a few days before the race but it was mostly all melted by the time we ran. Based on the elevation chart, I had expected it to be hillier, but it didn’t feel hilly at all! (Maybe I have the San Francisco hills to thank for that?) The weather was chilly (about 39F at the start), but once we started running, it was perfect. The race starts at 7:30 am, but if you’re in a corral that’s further down the line, it might be 8 am or later before you actually start. That’s a lot of standing around and waiting, esp when it’s cold, so that’s my only complaint. The course goes all through Philly, and since it was my first time visiting the city, it was always new and interesting to me. I have to say, the support along the course is awesome! Despite the cold weather, there were TONS of people out cheering for the runners. Philly really turns out! I don’t think there was a stretch of the course more than 1/4 mile or so without cheering people on it. The post-race refreshments were standard carb-y fare – bananas and pretzels (Philly is very proud of their pretzels!) and fruit cups, but I don’t eat carbs so I couldn’t partake. The medal is a small replica of the Liberty Bell. I’m not one of those who really gets excited about medals (I don’t even know what to do with all of them!) but apparently it was a cooler medal than last year’s. I think there were about 15,000 runners in the half – that’s A LOT of people. The course was pretty crowded with people the whole time but there were only a couple of times when I wanted to pass someone but couldn’t get through, so it’s definitely manageable. The 8k starts after the half and runs some of the same course. The expo was pretty standard but nothing super exciting. I just received the email with the link to the race photos – they’re pretty standard too, nothing great and they’re expensive – living in the Bay Area, I have gotten spoiled by races that offer free race photos. And the watermark on the photos makes it hard to even see if it’s a good photo. So I’ll be skipping those mementos unfortunately. All in all though, definitely a race worth doing!

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    jdhunt FIRST-TIMER '18

    I really enjoyed the tour through the city of Philadelphia that this marathon offered. The best sites of the city are in the first half, but the second half did … MORE

    I really enjoyed the tour through the city of Philadelphia that this marathon offered. The best sites of the city are in the first half, but the second half did have the serenity of running along the Schuylkill river corridor. Honestly, I would have preferred a bit more of the race to be around the city and other sites – the Schuylkill section could have been a training run as far as I am concerned. However, I do understand that sometimes races have to do what they have to do. I found that the course was built for speed. Yes, there were some rolling hills, but some would say that this may help performance more than a pancake flat course might.

    The starting line / corrals were setup great. I was in maroon (right behind the “elite” corral), and I didn’t have to dodge and weave around slower runners who were misplaced. Everyone up there was going the right pace, and it just seemed like a really good starting line experience!

    Crowd support was terrific, even though there were some “dead zones”, I found that when I needed a jolt of energy there was a lot of support. I definitely appreciated the big party atmosphere in Manayunk at the turnaround on Main Street!

    Communication from the race wasn’t as good as I have had with other races (Flying Pig still is tops from races I have run), but it was adequate. It seems the race wanted you to focus on following them on social media or through their website.

    The finishing area was fine – some decent selection of food and drinks at the end. The hot chicken broth was a very nice touch on a colder race day – I think I appreciated that more than anything else offered at the end! The pretzel was good, and I actually appreciated the apple juice that they offered as well.

    The swag was terrific – the medal may very well be my favorite medal to date. The Liberty Bell on the medal is exactly what I would expect from a Philadelphia Race, and the shirt is a nice tech shirt with some iconic Philly scenes on the front (the Rocky statue – YES!).

    Overall, I am thrilled with the Philadelphia Marathon! It was a fun race where I felt like I got to know the city a bit better plus get a PR. Thanks Philadelphia for a first-class event! I don’t know if it is the best race in Pennsylvania, but I am very happy I chose Philly for my Pennsylvania race!

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    sbhubbard22 FIRST-TIMER '16

    I ran this as my very first marathon, and the experience was amazing! Getting to the start was easy enough, though I have the advantage of living just a few … MORE

    I ran this as my very first marathon, and the experience was amazing! Getting to the start was easy enough, though I have the advantage of living just a few miles away. The start line was good- plenty of bathrooms, and a warming tent that was packed because it was a cold and windy day! Highlights of the race are running through center city and running through Manayunk. The crowds in those areas are amazing. The most challenging part for me was miles 21-25ish, which bring you back up Kelly drive towards the Art Museum and finish line. It was windy along this section, with few spectators to cheer you on. I had my family and friends stand here so I could see them on my way out to Manayunk and on my way back to the finish line.
    I would highly recommend this race to anyone, and especially for any first-time marathoner!!

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    katesonn390 FIRST-TIMER '11

    This was my first ever full marathon and I can't recommend it enough for first timers! The course is nice and flat, so it's not overly challenging. Running through a … MORE

    This was my first ever full marathon and I can’t recommend it enough for first timers! The course is nice and flat, so it’s not overly challenging. Running through a big city is always fun, because there are so many people cheering on the sidelines!

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    raschatz REPEAT RUNNER '16

    First time where they split the Half from the Full, moving former to Saturday and creating a new course. There are some difficult spots - HILLS - but it is … MORE

    First time where they split the Half from the Full, moving former to Saturday and creating a new course. There are some difficult spots – HILLS – but it is a mostly fair course. You get a nice view of the city and surrounding parks. Security can be a bit much, so ARRIVE EARLY! Looking forward to 2017.

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    RunnerGirlKT FIRST-TIMER '16

    This year was cold and windy, super windy, but this is an awesome race. I actually enjoyed this race more than the NYC Marathon. My hotel was an easy walk … MORE

    This year was cold and windy, super windy, but this is an awesome race. I actually enjoyed this race more than the NYC Marathon.

    My hotel was an easy walk to the expo and start/finish line. I could eat breakfast, walk to the start, and just start which was refreshing after NYC. The course goes by most, if not all, of the landmarks of Philly and there is really only one challenging hill in the middle of the course.

    This year there weren’t many spectators because of the weather, but I’ve heard the course support is usually great.

    Nice medal, awesome shirts, nice expo.

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 02, 2017 at 12:36pm

    Thanks for the helpful review, Katy! Especially appreciate your thoughts on Philadelphia vs. NYC, since I've run the latter and am now searching for a Pennsylvania race to add to my 50 states quest. And not that the race organizers can control the weather, but it says a lot that you'd recommend the race so highly despite the high winds – same thing happened at Big Sur last year, which is likewise an awesome race. Congrats on an awesome year of racing, and look forward to following your running adventures in 2017!

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    wonderjess REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Second time running, Philly, and while there were some changes this year. It's still a great race. In 2016, they broke apart the half and full - half on Saturday … MORE

    Second time running, Philly, and while there were some changes this year. It’s still a great race. In 2016, they broke apart the half and full – half on Saturday and full on Sunday. I was curious what this would do to crowd support, and it did bring it down a bit – but not as much as I expected. I love this race for numerous reasons:

    COURSE: I love a city marathon. The course brings you through downtown Philly, through the South Side, up around the Zoo, and then out to Manayunk (I love it there). People are out, crowd support is still good. Manayunk is always a crowd pleaser. There are hills, mostly in the first half, and the second half is fast. This is a fast course. I like it. My two fastest marathon times are here.

    PRODUCTION: Great!! I think this is year 23 for them. No hiccups, everything goes as planned (except for the weather). Aid stations are plentiful, as are friendly volunteers. Lots of port-a-potties.

    SWAG: They had gender specific tops this year. Lots of shirts and gear for purchase. The medal is kind of nice – very detailed, and it looks like it would stand up on it’s own without the ribbon.

    LOCATION: This city is connected to the marathon. Philly is the city of brotherly love, and they are so glad you are there and running. Seriously. I always have a great time visiting.

    WEATHER: Unpredictable. In 2013, it was sunny and hot. In 2016, it was a high of 71 on Saturday, and of like 43 on Sunday + wind, wind, and more wind. It’s November.

    I typically don’t repeat races. Philly is hands down one of my favorite races ever, and the only marathon I’ve run twice =)

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    wonderjess FIRST-TIMER '13

    I would definitely encourage anyone considering it to run the Philly Marathon. In fact, I think this has been my favorite marathon to date, and not just because it was … MORE

    I would definitely encourage anyone considering it to run the Philly Marathon. In fact, I think this has been my favorite marathon to date, and not just because it was a bit fat marathon PR for me.

    There are a couple high points that I would consider: (1) The cost of the marathon is relatively low. I registered early and got in for $80. I think as it approaches race day, the cost gets up to $150. Still much cheaper than some of the other big city marathons. (2) The entire city is glad you are there. Seriously, this is the city of brotherly love, and they prove it. Crowds were everywhere, sure, they were drunk, you couldn’t understand that accent, but they came out, and gave you food! I can’t think of a point in the race that I couldn’t see at least on spectator. Even the mayor comes out and gives high-fives at the finish. (3) the course is fast and appealing. The first half is mostly urban, through downtown, and then loops back to the start (where you deposit the HMers), then the second half is more scenic. (4) November weather in Philly is glorious! Honestly, it did get a little warm during my race, but normally, it’s beautiful. (5) I can’t recall a single snafu with race administration. The expo was good, everything went smoothly on the course. As a marathoner, you have the option to drop off with the HMers at mid race. They’ve been doing this for 20 years and it shows.

    If there are any downsides, it’s that the hotels in Philly can be pricy. There just aren’t enough of the. I know that some runners complained about the couple of hills that are on the course, but I loved them!

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    dansolera FIRST-TIMER '13

    This was my second attempt in 2013 to PR at the marathon, and I came pretty close. However, the course's insistence on rolling up and down slowed me down in … MORE

    This was my second attempt in 2013 to PR at the marathon, and I came pretty close. However, the course’s insistence on rolling up and down slowed me down in the second half. It begins and ends in downtown Philadelphia, runs through college campuses, picturesque neighborhoods, and then a painfully long out-and-back along the Schuylkill river. It does feel like the organizers put most of their efforts into a fun half marathon, with the ENTIRE second half being an out-and-back. Although I can’t fault them for this, it made staying strong in those latter miles very challenging. But if you have a stronger mind than mine, it’s a great place to chase a PR.

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