The 20th Annual Philadelphia Marathon Hits Town This Weekend, November 15-17, With More Than 30,000 Participants; Our Complete Spectator’s Guide To The Race, Health & Fitness Expo, Kids Fun Run & More

One of the most historic races in the nation, the Philadelphia Marathon is back for its 20th anniversary year on November 15-17. (Photos courtesy the GORE-TEXr Philadelphia Marathon)

On your mark, get set, go!

The 20th annual Philadelphia Marathon takes off this weekend and runners, fans, spectators and local businesses are stepping into high gear up for the enormous event — one of the top ten races in America.

With a new title sponsor, GORE-TEX® Running Footwear, as well as an expanded schedule of activities to celebrate the marathon’s 20th anniversary, the annual race is set to be bigger than ever this year.

An expected 60,000 spectators and more than 30,000 runners – the largest field in its history! — take to the streets and sidewalks of Philadelphia for four races on Saturday, November 16 and Sunday, November 17.

All weekend long, November 15-17, spectators and participants will be crawling throughout the city to fun events including a free health and fitness expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, more than 20 cheer zones for fans and plenty of spirit-enhancing dining destinations.

Staying in Philadelphia this weekend? If you haven’t yet booked your hotel stay, check out Visit Philly for super deals on hotel stays and packages.

Read on for our guide to this year’s 20th annual race weekend.

The Race

At the heart of the festival-like athletics-focused weekend are four races, and thousands of runners are registered to take part.

On Saturday, November 16, two races will be held: The Rothman Institute 8K kicks off at 7:30 a.m., and the Kids Fun Run at 10:30 a.m. for children ages 6 to 14.

On Sunday, November 17, the main events take place. The half marathon and the full marathon both kick off at 7 a.m. All races begin at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and can be viewed throughout the city (see below for suggestions).

And while registration for the Gore-Tex Philadelphia Marathon, Half Marathon and Rothman Institute 8k is now closed, registration for the Kids Fun Run is available in-person at both the expo and the race site.

See below for the complete race courses for both the marathon and half marathon.

Where to Watch

The annual race attracts not only many thousands of competitors, but also thousands of spectators. One and all are invited to watch and cheer on the runners throughout the city.

While the routes for the races are all a little bit different, spectators can see them all from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 18th Street and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and along Martin Luther King, Jr. from Spring Garden Street to Montgomery Drive.

Check out the course maps for the full scope to plan your spectating, and our picks for the prime spots below.

22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway: All of the races start and finish at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, so if you’re trying to get a look at them all, one good bet is to show up early and find a spot at that intersection.

Old City: For those primarily interested in seeing the marathon and half marathon, we recommend taking in some historic scenery at the same time. Since these two races go along Arch Street between 16th and 4th Streets and Race Street between 4th Street and Columbus Boulevard, Old City will be a great place to watch the action.

Schuylkill River: Another option is to find a lookout along the Schuylkill River since the marathon will run all the way along Kelly Drive and onto Main Street in Manayunk.

Cheer Zones: Don’t feel like navigating the crowds in hopes of stumbling upon a spot with a view? It’s definitely a smart idea to check out one of the more than 20 cheer zones the marathon’s been kind enough to call out in neighborhoods east and west of Center City, as well as in Fairmount, University City, East Falls and Manayunk.

For more on the marathon weekend, see below.

The marathon starts and finishes in the shadow of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Photo courtesy the GORE-TEXr Philadelphia Marathon)

Weekend Activities

With an influx of runners from far and wide, the entire city will be abuzz with marathon festivities.

Health & Fitness Expo: Now in its seventh year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Health & Fitness Expo will take over the Market East neighborhood. Stop by on Friday between noon and 9 p.m. or Saturday from 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. for expert advice on health and fitness, demos from sporting goods outfitters and raffles with tons of gift certificate prizes up for grabs. There will also be a number of information seminars for those looking to have some last-minute marathon questions answered. While there will be plenty of resources for runners, this is an event open to anyone. They’ll even have information for visitors and fans on where to get some good bites and how to enjoy historic Philadelphia.

• Choose Your Course: The night before the big run, join the racers in carb loading with Choose Your Course specials on Saturday, November 16. Select restaurants like Marathon Grill, Waterworks, Phillip’s Seafood and City Tap House are offering a special prix-fixe menu to help runners load up on carbs for a solid foundation for the race.

Fan Pass: During the marathon weekend, fans can score plenty of deals, too. Check here for discounts and special deals to runners and fans during race weekend. To see a complete list of this year’s discounts, download a fan pass here or pick one up at the Health & Fitness Expo on November 16 or 17. Then, present your Fan Pass at participating locations to receive your discount.

Getting There & Staying Over

Streets will be closed in many parts of the city in connection with the Philadelphia Marathon on the weekend of November 15-17. For a complete list of street closures, check here.

For those arriving by car, check here for parking and public transit information. Remember, with the street closures SEPTA routes may be detoured, so be sure to check for alerts.

Whether you’re in town just for the races, a sports enthusiast looking to celebrate or just a resident looking to take advantage of some city-wide sports action, check out Visit Philly for deals on hotel stays and packages.

Good luck to all the runners!

2013 Philadelphia Marathon
When: November 15-17
Where: Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center; Runs begin and end at 22nd Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Free to watch
More info:


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  1. Join us to cheer at mile 17 & 22 at Ferry Road in east falls! Bring your dog, your kids, your friends, and your appetite! In Riva will be open for brunch and booze at 7:30am, and the Mummers will be making a special appearance. Plus enjoy a DJ, lawn games, and other surprises to keep you cheering all morning long. 7:30a-12noon. Plus anyone who brings their race bib to In Riva on Sunday gets a free drink!

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