Want to run an exhilarating 26 miles through the streets of Philadelphia? Yeah, me either.

Apparently, though, a lot of people do, because the Philadelphia Marathon is back in 2013, and there are more than 50,000 spectators, 30,000 runners and 2,500 volunteers expected to descend on the City of Brotherly Love just for the occasion. Here’s your guide to taking it all in. – Chelsea Karnash

WHAT: The Philadelphia Marathon was first founded in 1954 and takes place on the third Sunday of November each year. Runners travel all throughout the city, from the Art Museum to City Hall to Old City and then along both sides of the Schuylkill River, through Manayunk and back to Center City along the 26.219 mile course. Cash prizes are awarded to the first five male and female finishers, and the top five males and females in numerous age groups receive awards.

WHEN: This year’s Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend runs from Friday, November 15th through Sunday, November 17th. Race Day is Sunday, November 17th, starting at 7 a.m.

WHERE: The Philadelphia Marathon takes runners on a tour through the city’s historical sites, starting at 22nd Street & Ben Franklin Parkway near the Philadelphia Museum of Art and winding through Center City and Old City before continuing along MLK Drive, around the Philadelphia Zoo, then back down and up Kelly Drive. It then continues through Manayunk, then back along Kelly Drive before finishing up back near the Art Museum. Phew—I’m tired just thinking about it!

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: The Philly Marathon has more to offer than just the race itself. In addition to the marathon, there will also be a two-day Health + Fitness Expo, a kid’s fun run, dining specials, an 8K and finally, a half-marathon that takes place during the full marathon. For more info on any of the events listed below, click here.

Friday, Nov. 15

Health + Fitness Expo
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Hall A
12th & Arch Sts.
12 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The Health + Fitness Expo kicks off for the seventh year in a row, featuring more tons of vendors showcasing the best, of-the-minute running apparel, shoes and accessories. There will also be free samples and health and fitness tips and advice. FYI, this is also where runners pick up their race packets.

Saturday, Nov. 16

Rothman Institute 8K
Start at 22nd St & Ben Franklin Pkwy
7:27 a.m. for wheelchairs and handcycles, 7:30 a.m. for runners

The Rothman 8K is a 4.97 mile race for those who want to run, but aren’t ready for a full of half marathon just yet. It’s sold out already for 2013.

Kids Fun Run
Start at 22nd & Ben Franklin Pkwy
9 a.m. registration, 10:30 a.m. races begin

The kid’s fun run is a short, non-competitive race for kids ages 4-12. It’s not timed. Nearby, there will also be activities for the little ones like face-painting, an obstacle course and arts and crafts. Kids must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Health + Fitness Expo
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Hall A
12th & Arch Sts.
10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Day Two of the Health + Fitness Expo includes the same stuff as the first.

Carbo Load with Choose Your Course
Various city restaurants
Dinner time

Runners, their fans and carboholics alike should head to one of many city restaurants offering carb-heavy, prix-fixe menus the night before the race. Make your reservations ASAP to ensure a table! Participating restaurants include Sang Kee, M Restaurant, Square 1682, Bridget Foy’s and more.

Sunday, Nov. 20

GORE-TEX Marathon & Half Marathon
Start at 22nd and Ben Franklin Pkwy
6:57 a.m. for wheelchairs and handcycles, 7 a.m. for runners

The main event! Cheer on friends, relatives and strangers alike as they push themselves to their physical limits during the 13.1 or 26.2 mile race. Post-race, there will be a live concert, featuring tons of local musical acts.

CHEER SPOTS: Know someone who’s running or just want to cheer on the brave souls who’ve chosen to challenge themselves? Take your pick from more than 20 Cheer Zones. Here are some of our faves:

Start/Finish Line at Ben Franklin Parkway
City Section: Art Museum, Fairmount
5 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

You’ll want to see your family and friends at the two most important parts of the race: start and finish. Take your place in this Cheer Zone – just make sure to arrive early since security’s been upped this year.

16th & Arch Streets at Capriccio at Café Cret
City Section: Art Museum/Fairmount
6:55 a.m. – 7:40 a.m.

Warm up with some coffee or tea from Café Cret as you cheer from near the city’s iconic Love Park.

“Go Green” Cheer Zone at 21st & Chestnut St
City Section: Rittenhouse
7:10 a.m. – 9 a.m.

Enjoy a hot treat from Caffeination, plus appearances from special guests Plastic Bag Monster and Mother Earth.

Kids Cheer Zone at the Philadelphia Zoo, 34th & Girard Ave.
City Section: West Philly
7:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Show up bright and early at the Philadelphia Zoo, where you can cap off watching the race with a visit to the animals…as if you needed an excuse to go to the zoo!

Main St in Manayunk
City Section: Manayunk
7:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.

Hang out anywhere on Main Street and watch the runners go by at one—or all—of three Cheer Zones. In addition to Main Street’s vibrant shopping and dining scene, there will also be music, and runners who show their bibs can get a discount at Winnie’s Le Bus.

Philly Sounds Post-race Concert
City Section: Fairmount/Art Museum
2:30 p.m.

Be the first to welcome marathon finishers to the end of the race! Expect a lineup of Philly bands playing live music, as well.

For a list of Cheer Zones, click here.

TRANSPORTATION: Taking public transportation is always recommended, but SEPTA has announced major bus detours in advance of the race.

Detours will begin between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. and stay in place until roads are re-opened after the race. Detours are scheduled for routes: R, 2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 16, 17, 21, 23, 25, 27, 32, 33, 35, 38, 40, 42, 43, 47, 47M, 48, 57, 61, 64, 65, 124/125 and 15 (bus replacement for trolleys). Also, on Saturday, Nov. 16, SEPTA will detour Routes 7, 32, 33, 38, 43 and 48 around Benjamin Franklin Parkway to accommodate the Rothman 8K and Kids Run at the Philadelphia Marathon between 4 a.m. and 1 p.m.

SEPTA bus riders who need to travel through Center City and other areas affected by the detours are urged to consider alternate travel options using SEPTA’s rail modes, particularly the Broad Street Line, on which there will be extra service on Sunday for both the Marathon and the 1 p.m. Eagles-Redskins game at Lincoln Financial Field. SEPTA has a section on its Website with details on Marathon-related detours and alternate service recommendations here.

Riders can also stay updated on all SEPTA service information online by using the System Status tool. System Status and trip-planning features are also now available on the new SEPTA App for iPhone. For more information about the SEPTA App, click here.

VOLUNTEER: Want to volunteer during Marathon Weekend? Click here for more information.

MAKE A WEEKEND OUT OF IT: Whether you’re visiting Philadelphia or a lifer, check out some of our guides for some ideas on how to spend this year’s Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend.


Top Murals in Philadelphia

Top Permanent Exhibits In Philadelphia

Important Places to the People Who Built Philly

Top Historical Spots in Philadelphia

Guide to Philly Museums


Top Spots for Homemade Gifts

Top Spots for Home Décor

Top Outlet Shopping Near Philly

Top Shops for Athletic Wear

Philly’s Top Shopping Neighborhoods

Food & Drink

Top Fall Soups

Top Creative Pizza Spots

Top Gluten-free Menus

Top Philly Gastropubs

Chinatown Culture & Cuisine Guide

Top Spots for Spaghetti

Top Spots for Bagels

Top Spots for Salads

Eat Your Way Through Reading Terminal


Free Fall Activities for Families

Guide to the Philadelphia Zoo

Top Museums for Kids

Top Coffee Shops for Families