Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend 2012

Dates: Nov. 16 to 18

The annual Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend, one of the country’s premier marathon events, draws more than 27,000 runners and 60,000 fans each year. The marathon weekend begins at noon on Nov. 16 with race packet pickup and the opening of the sixth annual Health and Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Runners and fans will enjoy seminars, vendor booths, free samples and information and discounts for attractions, restaurants, museums and shops.

Weekend Fan Passes are available to all fans at the Health and Fitness Expo. Fans and runners alike will enjoy special discounts to shops and restaurants during race weekend. Philadelphia Marathon fans are some of the most devoted, and thousands gather each year to cheer on the runners. This year, there will be more than 20 cheer zones throughout the course, which will offer entertainment, hot chocolate and noisemakers for fans to use to encourage runners as they pass by on their way to the finish line.

The Rothman Institute 8K and Kids Fun Run will take place Nov. 17. Saturday evening, runners and fans alike can carbo-load at one of the participating Pasta Dinner Dine and Explore restaurants throughout the city. Nov. 18 is the main event, the Philadelphia Marathon/Half Marathon. Fans may send a Shout Out or track their favorite runner during the race.

Tip: Check the race website closer to the race weekend to download your fan pass in advance and check out this year’s cheer zone entertainment and locations.

Marathon Weekend Events

Rothman Institute 8K
22nd Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
near the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, PA

Hours: Nov. 17 wheelchairs and handcycles – 7:25 a.m.; runners – 7:30 a.m.
Price: registration fees apply for runners/free for fans

The Rothman Institute 8K (4.97 miles) begins just below the steps of the Art Museum. Runners will start and finish on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, below the art museum steps. Fans can enjoy the fall weather as they cheer on their favorite runner along the scenic race course, which follows the Schuylkill River along Kelly Drive and then circles back to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the finish. All runners receive a T-shirt, post-race refreshments and a finisher certificate. The top five runners in each age group will receive performance awards, and the first five men and women to cross the finish line will receive cash prizes.

Kids Fun Run
22nd Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
near the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, PA

Hours: Nov. 17 onsite registration – 9 a.m. runners – 10:30 a.m.
Price: registration fees apply for runners/free for fans

Kids 6 to 12 accompanied by their parents and with a signed waiver (available on site) will love this short-distance, non-competitive event complete with prizes, face painting, arts and crafts, and an obstacle course. Course distances vary by age group and will include plenty of prizes at the finish line. The first 250 participants will receive a T-shirt and finisher medal.

Related: Kids Participate In Mini-Marathon On The Parkway

Marathon/Half Marathon
22nd Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway
near the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, PA

Hours: Nov.18 wheelchairs and handcycles – 6:57 a.m.; runners – 7 a.m.
Price: registration fees apply for runners, free for fans

The Philadelphia Marathon is recognized for its flat, scenic course. Beginning at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway near the famous stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, runners will continue along the Schuylkill River, through historic neighborhoods, past museums and monuments and cheering crowds of spirited fans. Considered among the top 10 courses in the country, Philadelphia is recognized for its flat terrain and mellow weather. The Half Marathon was added in 2006, and for some who have yet to run their first marathon, it is a great way to test out skills and sample the course. All runners receive a technical shirt, and all Marathon and Half Marathon finishers will receive a finisher medal and certificate for their race.

Health and Fitness Expo
Pennsylvania Convention Center Hall A
12th and Arch streets
Philadelphia, PA

Price: free
Hours: Nov. 16 – 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Nov. 17 – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Click here for a for a full calendar of events

The Health and Fitness Expo, now in its sixth year, hosts more than 80 vendors in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This event is a must on everyone’s list, runners and fans alike. All race-weekend participants will need to stop by the expo to pick up their race packets. Fans and runners may purchase official 2012 Philadelphia Marathon merchandise while supplies last, and visitors to Philadelphia will get information about Philadelphia attractions, restaurants and activities here as well.

Related: Top Places to see Autumn Leaves in Philadelphia

What To Do

The Philadelphia Marathon has evolved into more than just an athletic competition. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, home to the Museum District of Philadelphia, offers attractions and exhibitions displayed at world-renown cultural institutions like the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Below you will find a list of institutions and their hours during Marathon activities.

Academy of Natural Sciences
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Barnes Foundation
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cathedral Basilica SS Peter & Paul
Saturday: 9 a.m. mass, followed by meeting of the Catholic Life Congress
Sunday: 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. masses

Eastern State Penitentiary
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Franklin Institute
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Franklin Institute has a permanent exhibit called “Sports Challenge.”

Free Library of Philadelphia
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The Free Library’s Children’s Story Time on Nov. 17 at 2 pm will have a running theme

Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design
Saturday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Rodin Museum
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where To Eat

Pasta Dinner Dine and Explore

No Philadelphia Marathon is complete without the traditional carb-loading, and fans don’t sit on the sidelines for this event, as restaurants in Center City, Old City, Fairmount and University City serve up pre-run pasta dinners and other pre-run favorites. Check the race website for a list of participating restaurants as race day draws near. Reservations are strongly suggested.

London Grill
2301 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 978-4545

Located nearby historic Eastern State Penitentiary, London Grill features a bold menu and a rare and unusual selection of spirits and craft beer. The restaurant has been named “Best Neighborhood Restaurant&” by Philadelphia magazine, and it’s a must this race season.

Tavern 17
220 S. 17th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 790-1799

Fresh local ingredients are incorporated into a creative and innovative menu that includes a breakfast buffet and brunch, soups, salads, entrees, happy hour and a special menu just for canine friends. This is an ideal option if you’re watching the race with a group that likes a few libations with its race-track entertainment.

Marabella Meatball Co.
1211 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 238-1833

Meatballs are the staple at this awesome area restaurant, and they’re hand rolled from fresh ingredients. Enjoy a veggie or chicken ball to mix up the beef and beef/pork/veal options. This place promises ideal combinations, with something for everyone.

Getting Around

The races start and end near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with ample parking near Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Arrive early to find parking though, as there will be road closures and significant delays when trying to cross roads on or adjacent to the course. If you plan to take public transportation, check with SEPTA for schedules at (215) 580-7800.

Click here for information on road closures, parking and public transportation.

Christy Ayala holds a Masters of Science in Recreation Administration and has managed programs for the YMCA, YWCA, and recreation facilities in St. Louis, Chicago, Honolulu, and Philadelphia areas. Her work can be found on