Run Where I Live: Philadelphia

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A group of bloggers from across the globe has gotten together to explore the running cities of the world in a series called “Run Where I Live”. Consider this is your one stop shop to the Philadelphia Running community. Check out the other cities in the “Run Where I Live” series here.

I am probably biased when I say this, but Philadelphia may be one of the greatest running cities in the United States, if not the world. Bold statement I know, so continue reading and you’ll understand why.

It all begins with the physical size of Philadelphia. We are one of the largest cities in the world, however compared to our sister cities (NY, LA, Chicago, Boston) we are slightly smaller. To give some perspective, in square miles Chicago is double our size, NYC is 3 times our size and LA is  almost 5 times the size of us! By being physically smaller as a city we are that much more connected with one another. Running in Philadelphia is like no other because you get a big city feel but the running community is so tight-knit and well connected. If you run in Philadelphia it becomes very clear you are a part of something so much bigger than yourself.

So what makes Philadelphia such a great running city? I mean where do we even start?

To begin, Philadelphia is just an hour away from the Runner’s World headquarters in Emmaus, PA. You know Runner’s World, they are the premier source when it comes to everything running. By being so close it is very common that you will see Bart Yasso at races or organized workouts in the Philadelphia area. Not to mention the Runner’s World Half Marathon and Festival is so close to Philadelphia that it only takes a quick car ride north to experience all the fun first hand!

Philadelphia Runner

Philadelphia Runner is the #1 running entity in Philadelphia, so much so they deserve their own section in this post. YouUntitled can’t run in Philadelphia and not know about Philly Runner. I call them an entity because they aren’t just one thing when it comes to running. They are a running store, a running group, a running sponsor and even host their own race…..they are everything running when it comes to Philly! From first hand experience I can tell you they are the best running store in the city of Philadelphia. Their staff is knowledgeable and will make sure you are equipped with the proper running gear specific to you. They also host one of the top races in Philadelphia (more on that below). And as if that wasn’t enough they are constantly hosting free group runs throughout the city. Their main store is so centrally located in Philadelphia that it allows them to host group runs throughout the city that will usually end somewhere fun. Philly Runner keeps the Philadelphia running community connected like no other group has.

Major Races in Philadelphia:

If you look at the race calendar we post every month, you will know that Philadelphia is never short on races. From the spring to the fall it is almost impossible to not find an organized race every weekend. And if there isn’t a race you can bet someone is organizing a group run somewhere. Here are some of the best:

  • Broad Street Run: We previously wrote about the amazingness that is the Broad Street Run. This is by far the largest 10 mile race in the entire country. It is a run that has been held in Philadelphia for the past 35 years that covers a 10 mile stretch of Broad Street that runs right through the city. And over the past few years has brought out over 40,000 runners! That’s more than the Boston, LA and Honolulu marathons to name a few. The race is just as big as Chicago and only the New York Marathon brings out more runners. And this is just a 10 miler, not 26.2. Needless to say Philly comes out for this race.
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View of Broad Street from above

  • Philly Marathon: Not to be outdone by our sister cities to the north, Boston and New York, Philly also has it’s own Marathon. We also previously wrote about what the Philly Marathon says about the Philly running community. The city has a buzz to it that can’t be described during Philly Marathon weekend. When you are in the city that weekend it seems like everyone you see has something to do with the marathon. Whether they are a volunteer, spectator or even running it themself there is just a different feel to the city during the weekend. You can literally feel it. It is something you have to be a part of to understand.

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  • The Philly 10K: This race was created in 2014 by the folks at Philadelphia Runner. To give outsiders a brief history lesson, most major Philadelphia races take place along a similar running route, known as the River Loop or Fairmount Park Loop. The Philly 10K was created to bring a big race feel to a different part of the city; South Philadelphia. You have all seen south Philly before, whether it is the famous Pat’s and Geno’s Cheeseteak places or the Rocky movies where he runs through the Italian Market. South Philly is a very historic part of Philadelphia and the Philly 10K embraces that like no other run. Again, this is a race you have to experience to truly understand how amazing it is, there is no other run in Philadelphia that will give you the historic scenes of Philly like this race.

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What Philadelphia Running Looks Like:

It is one thing to tell you why running in Philly is amazing. It’s a lot better to show you:

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I told you Bart Yasso pops up in Philly regularly

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The famous “Rocky Steps” from the Rocky movie. More commonly known as the Art Museum steps

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Runners Headed towards City Hall during the famous Broad Street Run

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The brand new Schuylkill Boardwalk

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Runners running past the famous Pat’s Steaks


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More Bart!

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Valley Forge Park: One of the most historic parks in the USA

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Fairmount Park is one of the best areas to run in all of Philadelphia

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The Philadelphia Marathon takes place each November with a scenic course that takes approximately 30,000 runners past landmarks such as Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell Center, City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; through urban neighborhoods such as Old City, University City,  South Philadelphia and Manayunk; and past the waterfronts of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers.

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Over 40,000 people pack the streets for the Broad Street Run

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Running/ Fitness Community Sites:

Planning a visit to Philadelphia and want to explore our running and fitness community? The two organizations below should be your top resources to get yourself connected to the city instantly.

  • Run 215: Brainchild of local Philly Runner Jon Lyons, Run 215 was created to connect runners all over Philadelphia. With 2,600 Facebook members and close to 1,500 Twitter followers, Run 215 is the premier locally ran group of everything Running Philadelphia related. From hosting themed runs to branding the Philly Running community with Run 215 Swag. If you are an outsider looking to explore the Philadelphia Running Community there is probably no better area to start than with getting a hold of this group.

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  • Be Well Philly: Subsidiary of Philadelphia Magazine, Be Well Philly is one of the top sources in Philadelphia’s running and fitness community. It is the #1 source to keep yourself in the know of anything that happens in the city from running, nutrition, fitness and everything in between. If you plan on visiting Philadelphia and would like to research fitness related activities during your stay, this should be your go to source.

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List of Local Running Groups:

Local Running Stores:

Nationally Philadelphia tends to have a bad reputation as a city full of hard nosed, rough people. And while I will not debate the hardworking nature of our city, the running community is one to behold for yourself. We work hard and take pride in our city. When you run in Philadelphia it’s not about just you and your run, it is so much bigger than that. The only way to fully understand it is to experience it for yourself. So when will you join us?

Now head down south and check out what it looks like to run in South Florida.

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12 thoughts on “Run Where I Live: Philadelphia

  1. I’ve only visited/ run in Philly once when I was in town for the Winter Classic a few years ago and I really loved it! I’ve been saying since that I need to make it back to Philly for a race sometime – hopefully soon!

    Thanks for sharing all these wonderful resources for when I do get around to visiting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well Done! Way to spotlight a great city! I have run both the Philadelphia Marathon and the Half and I LOVE YOUR CITY! And any race that features hot broth and soft pretzels at the end totally WINS in my book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post and great pics too!! I did Rock n Roll Philadelphia last year and I have to say that as much as I love Chicago, Philly as a very very close second for me. The city is stunningly beautiful, and the surrounding areas are really nice too (Valley Forge, etc…). I can’t wait to go back there and do another race sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tom! So glad to hear you enjoyed our city. It is a beautiful city and you’re right, there are plenty of parks close by to give you more beautiful scenery. Hope to see you back soon!

      Like

  4. Great post! I used to live in Philly and wasn’t really part of the running community at that point in my life, but these are some great resources for if I ever move back there! My favorite places to run were in the suburbs – Ridley Creek State Park and Forbidden Drive!

    Liked by 1 person

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