Op-ed: National Running Day and its impacts in Philadelphia

Desiree Peterkin Bell. Provided
Desiree Peterkin-Bell. Provided

Today is National Running Day and I want to share with you how running impacts us all.

Personally, I know first-hand how running has positively affected me. As a former runner and five-time NCAA All-American in Track & Field, I understand the challenge and thrill of a great run.

Now as the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Marathon, I’m excited and eager to be part of shaping an endurance race that brings together nearly 100,000 runners, spectators and volunteers.

The event truly is a unique spectacle serving as Philadelphia’s heartbeat for one incredible weekend. The Marathon along with the Half Marathon and 8K race attracts young adults and seniors, from casual novice marathoners to elite running veterans, as well as everyone in between. You’re invited to join in the weekend’s dynamic activities! Our doors open to you on Friday, Nov. 15 which begins a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The expo features the latest running apparel and seminars designed to give you an unforgettable experience.

I am proud to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Marathon Nov. 15 through Nov. 17, which showcases the evolution from a small, local race into one of the top-10 marathons nationally. Most important, the race unites Philadelphia’s businesses, volunteers, government, hotels, families, tourists, and citizens in a holistic citywide experience. Our theme this year is “20 Years, For the Love of Running” and today is a timely reminder that running brings so much joy whether you’re lacing up for a run or simply participating in an event as a volunteer.

So what makes you train for weeks and sacrifice early-morning sleep? Well, it’s for the love of running! That spirit is why we celebrate National Running Day. Whether you run as a means to express yourself, enjoy the thrill of competition, or just because you can, I encourage you to spend a moment today to pause and reflect on why running is special to you. I am amazed and thankful that running is accessible to everyone. No matter what your age is, experience level, background or beliefs, running is always available as something you own. In this sense, it represents a sport of true “democracy.” With training, most everyone can participate making running the world’s most inclusive sport.

Your neighborhoods and favorite landmarks take center stage throughout our 26.2-mile-course on race weekend! Our race connects our city’s unique mix of modern and historic characteristics, whether you live in Center City near LOVE Park, visit iconic sites like the Liberty Bell in the Historic District, gain your education at University City or just want to relax in the nation’s largest municipal park at West Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. More than just a race, the Philadelphia Marathon represents a platform inviting you to participate in solidifying Philadelphia as a world-class city.

For instance last year we teamed up with 34 charities serving many important causes for your community. Students Run Philly Style, an original Marathon charity partner, mentors our city’s youth by using running as a teaching vehicle for adolescents to develop a positive and healthy lifestyle. Our charity partners help raise money through the Philadelphia Marathon to fight disease, develop youth and promote healthy lifestyles among other life-empowering objectives.

It’s clear that runners carry huge hearts. Through the senseless Boston Marathon tragedy, we all witnessed the running community mobilize instantly to demonstrate tremendous support, love and encouragement. It’s a symbol that even when life presents a tragic challenge, running fosters the strength to connect and empower communities and the people who live there.

From what they tell us on social media, through emails and phone calls, many of our runners at the Philadelphia Marathon feel the same way. If you’re seeking a like-minded community, consider joining this year’s Philadelphia Marathon! Team Philly Race Training will get you in shape and you’ll be set to experience the Best Time of Your Life. If you’re interested, visit us at www.philadelphiamarathon.com.

I wish you an extra special National Running Day! This is a time for all running enthusiasts to come together to celebrate the power of running. I’ll see you in November … out at the finish line, where you can get an enthusiastic high-five from Mayor Michael A. Nutter and me!

-Desiree Peterkin-Bell, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Marathon



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.