Tuesday, November 25, 2008

(Sort of) Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon

Nope, didn’t run it this year, three times was enough. Nothing against the marathon in Philly, it’s just I know the course too well having lived there long enough to memorize every hill and turn.

So last Sunday it was held again, one of the last fall marathons in the area. And sometimes it turns cold on that last weekend before Thanksgiving.

This year was positively freezing, and from what I read on the Runner’s World forum, it was cold, cold, cold. I don’t like running long in that, and I’m glad I had no last-minute plans to jump in the car and head down there for another trip up and down the Schuylkill River. So God bless anybody who had freezing toes during the race. One of my friends ran a 3:03, so at least a PR wasn’t impossible.

And I also heard the race organization was not so hot, such as running out of mylar blankets at the finish line, and walkers in the half marathon clogging the course right before the full marathon started (and thus making marathoners weave around them in the first mile), etc. Makes me appreciate the take-no-prisoners, operation desert storm quality of the NYC Marathon management.

But every year I hear about Students Run Philly Style, a fine organization that an old friend of mine started up a few years ago. Heather and her team of runners help city kids train for races, and ultimately the marathon, and this year had 65 of them out there. I’m not one for sentimentality and ‘triumph of the human spirit’ cheerleading, but I have to say that Students Run Philly Style kind of puts a lump in my throat when I read about them. I mean, I take for granted just showing up for races and finishing, and then there are these kids who get out there and train for something they probably once thought they could never achieve. Here’s a link from the Philadelphia Inquirer about one of these marathoners:

Philadelphia Inquirer: A Very Special Philadelphia Marathon Competitor

So running hats off again this year to Heather. And she’s the one that turned to me one spring day about ten years ago at the Roxborough HS track and said: ‘Anybody interested in training for a marathon this fall?’ And I said, ‘Well, OK, I guess so.’

And that was that. I then trained for my first marathon, so I guess Heather can get anybody out there if she helped to get me going in this crazy sport.

Anyway, nice job last Sunday, Heather…


Speed Racer said...

"it’s just I know the course too well having lived there long enough to memorize every hill and turn."
Cranky, do I have to point out to you how... ironic? hypocritical? downright untrue... this statement is?

That's a great story about the kids. I thought kids weren't ALLOWED to run marathons. Obviously, if you're a product of this trend, underaged marathons lead to unhealthy habits later in life.

Speed Racer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Almighty said...

You still alive budddy?

Good post by the way. Although I do like the informal marathon setting of Hartford, a lot can be said for a well run corporate run fest. Also runing out of foil blankets is never a good sign...