PHOTOS: 2012 Philadelphia Marathon is the largest in city history


Philly has long been more well-known for its stomach-busting cheesesteaks than for its record-busting runners. But the Philadelphia Marathon may finally be resuming its spot among the nation’s best. “We don’t try to compete,” City Representative and Philadelphia Marathon Executive Director Melanie Johnson said yesterday. “Marathoners are very community-oriented. We’ve just taken our place within that community.”

Yesterday’s 19th annual Philadelphia Marathon saw the city’s largest field of competitors to date. All 14,500 slots were filled by Oct. 1, which also set a record for the fastest Marathon sellout in its history.

And that was before Mayor Michael Nutter added 3,000 more spots for “refugee runners,” New Yorkers whose race was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. About 1,500 of those spots were filled, Johnson said, leading to a total of about 16,000 marathon runners and 13,000 half-marathon competitors, in addition to the 60,000 or more spectators who cheered them on.

Johnson said the additional out-of-towners only added to the race’s camaraderie. “In talking to some of the runners afterwards – New Yorkers, as well as runners who had been signed up before – there was just a great feeling,” Johnson said. “There was a feeling of togetherness. People were pumping their fists and just happy. You get that in a lot of marathons anyway because people are striving to achieve their goals, but I think there was something really special about this race and we were happy to be able to extend a hand to our friends in New York.”

Johnson said that research has estimated the Marathon’s economic impact on the city to be more than $20 million. Center City hotels were so full that officials resorted to lodging some runners near the airport and in the far Northeast. One big boon is the course’s incomparable scenery. “We have the most historic square mile in the country,” Johnson said. “Runners go by the Liberty Bell, the president’s house, Independence Hall – this is birthplace of our nation, so people get to see that.” She noted that the Parkway’s “museum mile,” the Schuylkill River waterfront and the Philadelphia Zoo – the nation’s oldest – are also on full display. “So many marathoners, when they come, it’s their first trip to Philadelphia,” Johnson said. “They always say they’ll come back for vacation – and they do.”

So is Philly’s marathon finally on the level of, say, that of Boston or New York? “We don’t try to compete with other cities,” Johnson said. “It’s just like racers say: you run your race at your pace. Well, Philadelphia runs a race at our pace. New York is New York. Boston is the oldest marathon in the country. Every race has their own unique aspect, depending on how you market and organize it, but today, Philadelphia has shown we’re right up there with everyone else.”

Why we run half marathons

It’s safe to say it will be close to a week before I’ll be able to walk without a limp and wipe the grimace off my face.

No complaints on this end, though. I completed my second Philadelphia Half Marathon yesterday and couldn’t emotionally feel better than I do now.

People have asked me why I put myself through this, the trials and tribulations of training to get through 13.1 miles. The fact is, I’m not a huge fan of running – it can be boring and tiresome. Running a few miles here and there is not so bad, but once you have to start practicing longer runs leading up to the race, I’d much rather be doing something else.

It’s about pushing yourself, pushing your body to the limits. Did I think a little over a year ago I could accomplish such a feat, preparing myself for my first half marathon? No. Heck, it was hard enough getting through my first 5K (3.1 miles) back in May 2011.

Now with two half marathons under my belt, I have quietly thought to myself since yesterday, what about aiming for the whole marathon next year? I have pushed myself this far, let’s see what a little more effort can take me. It is quite tempting.
- Julie Shannon


Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…


Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…


Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…


New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.


Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…


'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.


TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…


Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.


Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…


Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.


NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?


Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…


How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…


Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.


Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.