The Philly 10K is a race that was started in 2014 and I am happy to say I am a two time runner of it. This is truly the only race in Philly that embraces the soul of historic South Philly. If you’ve seen any “Rocky” movie you know what I am talking about. Most races in Philadelphia are run by the “River Loop”. While the loop is a fun course, when most major races run this route it’s fun to take a break from it. It’s even better to run in such a historic area of Philly that no other race runs.
Now onto my review…..
The bib pick up for this race was a lot of fun and like no other bib pick up I have been a part of. It was called a “Bibs and Beers Pick Up Party” and it was just that. It was held outdoors and was more of a festival. It worked like a traditional pick up would in the sense that you get your bib and shirt, however had much more to offer. Philadelphia Runner (the premier running store in Philly) had a make shift store set up where you could buy gear made specifically for this race! Along with this they had a few food trucks and a beer stand set up. Like I said a true outdoor party. (Unfortunately I got there too early for the beer). A lot of people complained about the T-Shirt being too small. Truth be told I haven’t tried mine on yet. However enough people have complained about this that I think race management needs to take it into consideration for next year.
The race was set up at a different starting location than it was last year. This year the start line ran along South Street. If you have visited Philadelphia you know South Street well. It is one of the more historic streets in Philly for restaurants and shops. The starting line started at 8th and South Street and ran all down the street until roughly 11th street.
The only criticism I have here is the portable toilets. I got to the starting line and started walking towards my corral and found the toilets. I counted 8 total. I thought that wasn’t enough for thousands of people and was disappointed because as a result it was such a long line. I walked to my corral a few blocks up and found closer to 10 toilets with NO LINES! It was clear because people were told to show up to a certain starting point that no one knew there were other toilets. It would have been a lot better if the race management group had a sign pointing runners to these other (unused) toilets.
Like I said above, the race course is one that has not been run before. It runs in the heart of South Philly. Last year this race ran into center city, but this was clearly changed for 2015. This year the race ran further down South Philly and as a result didn’t venture much into Center City, which truly made it a South Philly race. However it still passed all of the staples of South Philly: East Passayunk, Pat and Genos, the Italian Market, etc.
There was one deceiving part of the course. When you were running towards the finish line it was so straight that you could see it from about 10 blocks away. Mentally this was great for me because I thought of taking a walking break right after the 5 mile mark, but as soon as I saw the finish line so far away I got a boost of energy to get to it without walking. However when I got about 5 blocks away from the finish line the course took a left hand turn and ran away from the finish line. This took the wind right out of my sails. None the less I still ran the whole time and didn’t get discouraged during that last mile.
Overall I really enjoyed the course. It was relatively flat with a lot of people cheering because you ran through neighborhoods rather than a more business oriented course like most Center City Philadelphia courses. So you had a lot of people cheering from their homes and you got a lot of historic sites along the way.
Just like the pre race bib pick up, post race was quite the party as well. You could collect your free commemorative race print, a free beer, post race snacks and a free custard from Shake Shack. I am personally not one for standing in long lines for one free beer or custard, so I left almost as soon as I got my race print, but based on everything I saw it looked like those who did stay had a fun time.
I do have a few criticism here as well. Last year I ended up standing in line for the free beer and I remember the line being at least 20 minutes long. At the end of this race it seemed just as long. I understand it’s hard to get thousands of people through a line, but they do need to figure out how to move this quicker. Also, I don’t know if I am a fan of continuing the race print. I understand the course changed this year so maybe that is why they did it. However eventually I feel they need to go to a race medal. Medal’s are easy to hang and don’t take up much space. The race print takes up a lot of space and if you run this race multiple times they will just pile up. I replaced my 2014 print with my 2015 print, but it would be nice to display both at one time. However they take up too much space.
My overall thoughts are that I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a run in Philly. There are definitely a few things I would love to talk to the race management group about that they could do better. But overall they do a great job making this race an enjoyable time. Also the race runs in a part of Philadelphia that no other race goes so if you are looking for a change from the normal race scene this race has it.