Overall: Awesome race. Great energy. One of my all-time favorite races and courses (yes, I liked it even better than the Kailua, HI half marathon).
Race Tips: The hotel that is connected to the Philadelphia Convention Center is nice and where most of the runners stayed. It is also convenient since packet pick-up is in the Philadelphia Convention Center. However, in the two years that I’ve run this race, I’d recommend staying at a hotel off of Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It is much closer to the start and end of the race (at the “Rocky” steps). I’m not endorsing any specific hotels, just like to point out that logistically it was much more convenient on race day.
If you’ve run in any of the Rock N Roll series races, you know that there are 10s of thousands of runners. I usually like to put myself in a slower pace group to start, but I’d recommend not doing that here due to the sizes of the corrals. I got stuck in the back for quite awhile and took me 2 miles of weaving in and out of people to get to a good pace group for the rest of the race. Another note about corrals, if you’re in the later corral, you will not start the race until a good 30 mins AFTER the official start. Just so you know to keep warm.
Course / Elevation: Flat as a pancake! That’s probably why I love this race so much. The bands and the cheerig crowds were also great. The start is at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and the steps in front of them are from the movie “Rocky” which also makes it kind of cool). The two years I’ve run this race, the course has changed, but generally you do the first 1/3 of the race downtown Philly, then the race circled back to the start and goes up Kelly Dr. and comes back down W. River Drive. Miles 5 through 11 are along the River – beautiful and nicely shaded. I can’t remember any big hills.
Logistics: All great things. I always love Rock N Roll races. Very well organized. Lots of gatorade, water and gu at the dedicated, well-placed and well-manned stations. As with any race, just becareful not to slip on the cups at these stations.
Anything Else? Both times I ran the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, I beat my personal record (PR). It’s just that flat and fast.
If there is one negative thing, it’s not even about the race. The race ends and starts at the same place. And for some reason, the park where the race ends has a lot of dirt. Who cares? Well, after running 13.1 miles and just sprinted the last 0.25 mile to the finish, the dirt area (with all the spectators and foot traffic) stirred up quite a bit of dust and dirt into the air. The air was literally cloudy from it. Breathing it in at the end of the race was NOT fun. I used my shirt to cover my nose and mouth and quickly made myself to the bag check area, which was paved. If you are planning to meet famiy or other runners, I’d recommend you meet somewhere paved and get out of this dirt area ASAP. I know, I’m probably just being a wimp.