By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Marathon festivities get rolling, today, as the Health and Fitness Expo opens at the Convention Center. Thirty thousand runners will take to the streets on Sunday.
This is the 20th marathon and the largest field ever. Bob Koen of Cherry Hill is one of only two people that have run every one and he’s not surprised its popularity has grown.
“The Philly marathon is a really great marathon and I think it’s great that the city gets showcased because people come from all over the world to run.”
Koen loves the course that winds through Center City before rounding the river drives and shooting out and back through Manayunk.
The other person to conquer the race every year is Mark Sullivan. He says, after 20 years, some things haven’t changed.
“They’ve been able to maintain a very hometown feeling with this race. There’s something very friendly about it, more intimate, more personal than some of those big city races and that hasn’t changed. It’s been that way from the start.”
Sullivan is giving course tips at the Runner’s Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center tonight and tomorrow. Festivities also include a kids run and 8K on the Parkway tomorrow.
City Representative Desiree Peterkin-Bell recommends public transit as road closures will last into Sunday afternoon.
“Almost every area of the city will be touched by the marathon. It’s 26.2 miles.”
She’s also urging runners to arrive by 5 a.m. for the 7 a.m. start because of new security measures, in light of April’s bombing of the Boston Marathon.