An excellent start; the 2009 Philadelphia Marathon swag is the best ever. A smart Kick Asphalt technical shirt, runners’ gloves and a (zippered) mesh bag.
Sunday, 11/22, 5:10 am. It’s finally time…Kim and Kerry are running their first marathon. The mood in the car is optimistic and light.
The day is made for marathon running, cool, bright and cheery. We choose the facilities at the Starbucks on Callowhill and 20th. The line of ardent runners recount tales of race bibs purchased on Craig’s List and compare favorite marathons (it’s NY by a mile.) We women get a bad rap when it comes to time in the loo…those Starbucks men sure took their time!
The new wave start is touted. With roughly 7,500 marathoners, 7,200 half marathoners and 1,575 8K runners, the streets are mobbed for the first mile or 2.
Kim and Kerry (the K’s) are low key, savoring the architecture (the Beaux-Arts Memorial Hall in Fairmont Park is a midpoint standout), the sparkly rivers and the quirky marathoners along the way. Kim discovers her mantra at mile 4…..never say never. The ever vivacious Kerry chats with fellow runners, collecting their stories.
I’ve run Philadelphia twice. This time, I am doing the half. I’ve read of runners who purchased a half marathon bib and then proceeded to run the full marathon. Those are not my people. The leisurely half is great fun. And so is the finish line. But the day is all about the marathon; we half-runners are merely poseurs. I forgo my Mylar blanket, medal and banana.
I cheer the runners at Lloyd Hall (after mile 25.) This year, runner’s first names are boldly printed on their bibs. We yell out their names as runners grit their teeth, limp, cry or (happily) accept candy from the crowd. A group of young women are singing the Black Eyed Peas’ latest. The entire song. At mile 25.5. I don’t like them one bit. A bystander is obsessively playing the Rocky theme—a runner requests Sinatra. A middle aged man, with his entourage, is running his 100th Marathon. The crowd goes wild. A young couple run by, the man’s shirt says, “I love my marathoner”, pointing to the woman.
LDF’s, Ann and Jill, jump in at mile 23, with stories to tell, just what the K’s are craving.
Kim and Kerry run past. They seem calm, classy and jubilant. They did it.
Monday finds the K’s with the inevitable sore and unsightly toes and that painful stair walking. Talk quickly turns to their chances of getting into the New York Marathon next fall. The glorious conversation continues….