Take your mark (or, cheering position) – one of the greatest marathons of the nation returns this weekend!
The Philadelphia Marathon races take place November 18-20, bringing more than 30,000 participants, 60,000 expected spectators and a vibrant, festival-like atmosphere to the city.
- Marathon weekend runs Nov. 18-20 with four different races.
- The Health and Fitness Expo runs Nov. 18-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
- The main 26.2-mile marathon event runs Sun., Nov. 20, 7 a.m.
Plan ahead to determine where you’ll stake out your spot to watch what’s been rated one of the top ten races in America using our spectators guide below.
Where To Watch
While the routes for the races are each a little bit different, spectators can get a good view of them all from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway between the Philadelphia Museum of Art area to Love Park and along parts of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive on the west side of the Schuylkill River.
Check out the course maps for the full scope of each race and our picks for the prime spectating spots below.
22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
All of the races start at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and finish nearby at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, so if you’re trying to simplify your spectating planning, one good bet is to show up early and find a spot in that area.
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.
Along the Schuylkill River
Another option is to find a lookout along the Schuylkill River since the half and full marathons run along parts of both the east and west side of the river. In fact, the full marathon runs on Kelly Drive all the way up onto Main Street in Manayunk, meaning any part of the trail on the east side of the river is fair game for taking in the action.
Want to make sure you don’t miss the runner(s) you came out to watch? The marathon’s been kind enough to call out fan-friendly cheer zones in the neighborhoods surrounding the race, denoting the approximate time ranges when the majority of runners will pass through each area.
From spots east and west of Center City to Fairmount, University City, East Falls and Manayunk, check out all of their recommendations here. The megaphone symbols on the marathon maps represent cheer zones throughout the course.
The Philadelphia Marathon kicks off each year with the Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This year’s two-day vendor showcase will take place on November 18 from noon to 9 p.m. and November 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
While all race participants are required to stop by the Expo to pick up their race packets, the event is free to the public and showcases some of the newest running apparel, shoes and accessories, product samples and more. Health and fitness demos also take place and experts are onsite to dish out advice.
Also taking place on November 18-19 is the marathon’s Choose Your Course program, a tasty dining opportunity where select restaurants offer carb-heavy, pre-fixe menus for marathon runners and their family and friends to enjoy. A full list of participating restaurants can be found here. Reservations are encouraged.
Good luck to all of the runners!