The 2014 Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon took over the streets of downtown Philly last weekend. More than 23,000 runners travelled the streets of this historic city where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. The scenic course took runners along the Schuylkill River, up the hills past Drexel University, and finished by the steps of the magnificent Art Museum.
As a member of the Gore Running team, I was treated to a VIP experience. I stayed at the Marriot Downtown in the Market district and enjoyed a spectacular pre-race dinner at Bliss Restaurant with my teammates. Of course, I also trained and raced in some absolutely fantastic Gore Running gear.
The festive race atmosphere, the historical setting, and the spirit of Mayor Michael Nutter made this event truly special. Mayor Nutter walked into the corrals and high-fived runners before the race, emceed at the finish line, and made every runner feel appreciated. Thousands of people turned out to cheer for the runners and the energy was very positive from start to finish.
The race organizers and volunteers did a remarkable job keeping things moving efficiently while also providing adequate security and assistance to runners. Gore-tex was a generous sponsor, providing great post-race festivities and providing hundreds of enthusiastic race volunteers. There was plenty of water and Gatorade for runners along the course, and porta-potties were available every few miles for those who needed to make a pit stop.
The course was clearly marked with signage. Race clocks were setup at every mile mark, and splits were recorded at 10K, 13.1m, and 30K. There was zero traffic on the course. The streets of Philly belonged to the runners.
The Philadelphia Marathon course is often described as being fast and flat. Well, not exactly. There are two challenging hills that appear at miles 8 and 10. The long downhill section in mile 10 was tough on my tired legs.
The last stretch of the race heading towards the steps of the Art Museum was thrilling. I loved the crowd support, the long slow turn towards the finish line, and grandeur of the place. It’s one of those memories that will last a lifetime.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been half as much fun if it weren’t for the people I met. Thank you Gore Running for inviting me to experience one of America’s premiere marathon events. Please check out these great people for inspiration and wisdom: @TheRunningJones @rhodymomrunner @KBruning @rowdy406 @kitfoxnews @ROJRunning @GORETEXna @Philly_Marathon @BoMFPhilly @saltmarshcookin @saltyruns