Philadelphia Marathon

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Philadelphia Marathon
LocationPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Primary sponsorAACR
Course recordsMen: 2:14:47 (2018)
Ethiopia Tadesse Dabi
Women: 2:32:49 (2019)
Ethiopia Feyne Gemeda
Official sitePhiladelphia Marathon
Participants10,054 (2019)
9,529 (2018)

The Philadelphia Marathon (aka the Philadelphia Independence Marathon) is an annual marathon sporting event held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the third Sunday of November each year since 1954. The Philadelphia Marathon ranks among the top ten in the nation's largest marathons with over 30,000 runners, 60,000 spectators and 3,000 volunteers.[1] The 30,000 runners come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and over 42 countries.[2] The marathon course is professionally certified at 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi) by the Road Running Technical Council of USA Track & Field.[3] Leo Dignam is the current executive director of the Philadelphia Marathon.[4]


The roots of the AACR Philadelphia Marathon (aka the Philadelphia Independence Marathon) can be traced back to 1954, the race's unofficial inaugural year. The marathon then largely was a suburban event and went by many different names; the Greater Philadelphia Independence Marathon (1981–82) and the Fairmount Park Marathon (1988–89). The marathon today, was established under the name of the Philadelphia Marathon in 1994 under then Mayor Ed Rendell as an annual running event that took place entirely within the City of Philadelphia.

This yearly event takes place on the 3rd Sunday in November or “the Sunday before Thanksgiving”. The Marathon is a top U.S. running event and top Boston qualifier with 30,000 runners participating in one or more of 5 featured events. During Marathon Weekend over 60,000 spectators and over 3,000 volunteers provide valuable race day support. Working along with volunteers from local schools, colleges and universities and the community actively participate to organize cheer zones, manage replenishment stations, monitor the course and provide support to help runners have their best possible runner experience while in the “City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection”.

As a major City event, the Marathon was produced by the Office of the City Representative. In 1995,a group of dedicated runners and Dr. Peter Sharkey of the Rothman Institute, a top Philadelphia orthopedic practice, sponsored a smaller running event as part of the Sunday Marathon event. Now, 23 years and 3,000 runners later, the Rothman 8K is an integral part of Marathon Weekend and an enjoyable event for beginners or those who just want to run. It is also for some, a warm-up for the longer distances. In 2006, a half marathon was added to the Sunday line up by Janis Pierce, the City Representative at that time, and a runner.

In 2011, two competitors died, which were the first deaths to occur in the Philadelphia Marathon in over a decade.[5] The first was Jeffrey Lee, a 21-year-old Nursing and Wharton student attending the University of Pennsylvania. Having collapsed after crossing the finish line of an apparent heart attack, the cause of his death actually remains unknown. Although the cause of death was officially diagnosed as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, after further examination of the autopsy, it was concluded that the diagnosis may not have been accurate since the size of his heart would have been normal for an athlete. Therefore, medical professionals believe his death may have been caused by an underlying heart condition, not a heart attack. [6] The second death was of Chris Gleason, a 40-year-old experienced triathlete from Clifton Park, NY. Gleason collapsed a quarter-mile from the finish line from heart attack. [7]

In 2013, Gore-Tex was announced to be the title sponsor for the next three years.[8]

In 2017, American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) was announced to be the title sponsor for the next three years for the full marathon.[9]

In 2017, Dietz & Watson was announced to be the official sponsor for the half marathon.[10]

In 2017, the Rothman Institute agreed to continue its sponsorship of the 8K event. The Rothman Institute has been part of the Philadelphia Marathon for over 19 years, dating back to when Drs. Richard Rothman and Peter Sharkey began sponsoring the 8K as part of their community outreach efforts.[11]

In 2017, Dunkin' Donuts was announced to be the official sponsor for the Dunkin' Munchkins Run.[12]

In 2018, Garmin joined the team of sponsors for the Marathon, and was named the official timer and running watch for that year's marathon. [13]

In 2020, the Marathon was cancelled after mayor Jim Kenney announced a moratorium on public gatherings of more than 50 people within the city of Philadelphia on July 14th due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[14] Registrants were given the option of either transferring their entry to 2021, 2022, or 2023, or obtaining a refund.[15]


The course begins and ends at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Philadelphia Marathon course is relatively flat and offers a view of many historical landmarks that include Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and the Liberty Bell.[16] The course travels the streets of Old City on Penn's Landing, parallel to the Delaware River, along the Schuylkill River and out to Manayunk.[17] The highest elevation in the course is approximately 148 feet.[18] The terrain presents many uphill and downhill challenges for the runners, though the course itself is very flat compared to other large scale marathons.[19]

Runner information[edit]

The event also serves as a qualifying race for entry into the Boston Marathon for participants whose times meet age group bracketed standards. The race also features a state of the art timing system, using a small chip that attached to the back of each runner's bib that provides a 'chip time' for when the person has crossed the start and finish lines, as well as giving a traditional 'gun time'.

Health and Fitness Expo - Runners pick up their race packets that include a race bib, timing tag, T-shirt and bag at the free two-day health and fitness expo located in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.[20]

Cheer Zones – Spectators can select from more than 20 cheer zones throughout the course to show support to the runners.[21]

Transportation - Detours throughout parts of the city begin at 3AM and run until 1PM [22]


Several cash prizes are awarded for the full marathon.[23]

  • 1st - $10,000 one male & one female (Course Record Bonus: $1,500, one male & one female for each)
  • 2nd - $5,000 one male & one female
  • 3rd - $2,500 one male & one female
  • 1st - Masters - $1,000 one male & one female
  • 1st - Philadelphian - $1,000 one male & one female (must be a resident of Philadelphia County, determined by ZIP code)
  • 1st - Wheelchair - $1,000

All marathon runners receive a Philadelphia Marathon T-shirt, a Finisher Medal and a finisher certificate (available online after the race).[24]

Other races[edit]

Dietz & Watson Half Marathon[edit]

The Half Marathon was added to Race Weekend in 2006 and winds through Philadelphia's most scenic and historic neighborhoods. From the history-steeped streets of Old City, through one of the liveliest stretches of Center City, across the Schuylkill, up through the bucolic trails of Fairmount Park, and back down to canvas the banks of the river. The course is also sanctioned by USA Track & Field. Dietz and Watson is the current sponsor for the half-marathon portion of the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. Each runner receives a t-shirt, a finisher medal and a finisher certificate (available online after the race).[25]

Rothman 8K[edit]

The Rothman Institute sponsors an 8-km (about 5 miles) companion race to the Philadelphia Marathon. This race follows a shorter loop of the marathon, starting off on the expansive Benjamin Franklin Parkway before taking a turn on the scenic banks of the Schuylkill River and Martin Luther King Drive. Each runner receives a T-shirt, a finisher medal and a finisher certificate (available online after the race).

Environmental impact[edit]

The Philadelphia Marathon, who collaborated with Green Mountain Energy partnered with the Mayor's Office of Sustainability and the Mayor's Office of Civic Engagement to turn the race into an eco-friendly sporting event.[26]

In 2007, the Marathon's eco-friendly events began with recycling paper, cardboard, plastics, food and medals. Each year the “going green” efforts continued. Pallets were recycled, the Marathon partnered with the More Foundation by recycling sneakers to support families in Ghana, partnered with the Streets Department and began composting cups and organics and introduced the “Waste Watchers Volunteers” to facilitate on-site sorting. In 2012-2013, the Philadelphia Marathon received a Gold Certification from the Council of responsible Sport (ReSport) and organization that certifies special events for environmental sustainability and community engagement. In 2014-15 the Marathon received Green Certification along with achieving Zero Waste (over 90% diversion waste from landfill).

Some of the sustainable initiatives include:

  • Recycling heat sheets
  • Collecting and donating outer layers of warm up clothes
  • Recycling runners bags
  • Composting cups
  • Melting down and recycling excess runners medals [27]


Year Men's time Men's winner Country Women's time Women's winner Country
Not held 2020 due to COVID-19
24 Nov, 2019 2:16:31 Deriba Degefa  Ethiopia 2:32:49 Feyne Gemeda  Ethiopia
18 Nov, 2018 2:14:47 Tadesse Dabi  Ethiopia 2:32:53 Serkalem Biset Abrha  Ethiopia
19 Nov, 2017 2:16:25 Boniface Kongin  Kenya 2:38:14 Sarah Kiptoo  United States
20 Nov, 2016 2:15:53 Jonathan Cheruiyot  Kenya 2:36:25 Taylor Ward  United States
22 Nov, 2015 2:17:44 Teklu Deneke  Ethiopia 2:40:05 Gisela Olalde  Mexico
23 Nov, 2014 2:17:28 Dan Vassallo  United States 2:40:00 Leonora Petrina  United States
17 Nov, 2013 2:17:28 Abebe Mekuriya  Ethiopia 2:39:06 Irina Alexandrova  Russia
18 Nov, 2012 2:17:49 Michael McKeeman  United States 2:35:37 Irina Mashkantseva  Russia
20 Nov, 2011 2:19:16 Folisho Tuko  United States 2:35:46 Mariska Kramer  Netherlands
22 Nov, 2010 2:21:28 Daniel Vassallo (MA)  United States 2:38:55 Mariska Kramer  Netherlands
22 Nov, 2009 2:17:15 John Crews (NC)  United States 2:46:44 Jutta Merilainen  Finland
23 Nov, 2008 2:19:57 Andriy Toptun  Ukraine 2:44:02 Vera Ovcharuk  Ukraine
18 Nov, 2007 2:25:01 Timothy Psitet  Kenya 2:42:05 Kristin Price (NC)  United States
19 Nov, 2006 2:17:09 Hosea Kimutai  Kenya 2:40:31 Maryina Bychkova  Russia
20 Nov, 2005 2:21:02 Joseph Ndiritu-2  Kenya 2:43:07 Emily Kroshus  Canada
21 Nov, 2004 2:19:43 Michael Korir-2  Kenya 2:41:57 Larisa Mikhailova  Russia
23 Nov, 2003 2:16:47 Joseph Ndiritu  Kenya 2:45:05 Seana Carmean (MA)  United States
24 Nov, 2002 2:18:43 Michael Korir  Kenya 2:39:47 Tatyana Maslova  Russia
18 Nov, 2001 2:21:07 Gennadiy Temnikov  Russia 2:41:05 Elena Plastinina  Ukraine
19 Nov, 2000 2:18:03 Brian Clas (NY)  United States 2:41:56 Elvira Kolpakova  Russia
21 Nov, 1999 2:25:46 Tesfaye Bekele  Ethiopia 2:37:59 Anne Marie Lauck (NJ)  United States
22 Nov, 1998 2:24:12 Ryan Grote (NJ)  United States 2:44:59 Jan Wanklyn-2  United States
23 Nov, 1997 2:19:03 Gavin Gaynor (PA)  United States 2:41:35 Sarah Hunter  Canada
24 Nov, 1996 2:19:55 Nikolic Srba  Yugoslavia 2:50:01 Bea Marie Altieri (MD)  United States
19 Nov, 1995 2:20:15 Mark Andrews (NC)  United States 2:39:54 Jeanne Peterson (NY)  United States
20 Nov, 1994 2:21:22 Charles Crabb (PA)  United States 2:52:08 Jan Wanklyn (PA)  United States
Not held 1990-93
1989 2:22 Tim Wunch  United States
1988 2:32:23 Fred Schneck (PA)  United States
29 Nov, 1987 2:24:08 Tim Wunsch  United States 2:54:12 Lori Lawson  United States
23 Nov, 1986 2:25:25 Ira Meyers (PA)  United States 2:47:15 Doreen Mastalli (NY)  United States
24 Nov, 1985 2:18:27a Derick Adamson-2  Jamaica 2:38:30a Sandra Mewett  Bermuda
25 Nov, 1984 2:16:39a Derick Adamson  Jamaica 2:42:30a Barbara Filtuze (PA)  United States
27 Nov, 1983 2:15:26a Sam Pelletier (ME)  United States 2:36:38a Jane Welzel  United States
28 Nov, 1982 2:14:59a William Scholl (NJ)  United States 2:34:28a Jan Yerkes-2  United States
29 Nov, 1981 2:17:25a Dave Patterson (PA)  United States 2:39:11a Jan Yerkes (PA)  United States
30 Nov, 1980 2:26:18 William Devoe  United States 3:04:36 Pam Borowsky  United States
25 Nov, 1979 2:30:06 Richard Hayden  United States 3:05:21 Chris Schilling  United States
26 Nov, 1978 2:22:38 Richard diSebastian-2  United States 2:56:05 Carol Geig  United States
1977 2:25:59 Richard diSebastian  United States none
1976 2:24:59.6 Dave Patterson  United States
29 Nov, 1975 2:26:12 Carlo Cherubino &
Larry Frederick
 United States 3:04:44 Nancy Kent Cornell
01 Dec, 1974 2:21:57 Bill Rodgers (MA)  United States 3:25:33 Mary Devlin  United States
25 Nov, 1973 2:29:44.4 Bill Bragg  United States
26 Nov, 1972 2:27:29.5 Rick Bayko  United States
28 Nov, 1971 2:26:44.8 Moses Mayfield-2  United States
29 Nov, 1970 2:24:29 Moses Mayfield  United States none
30 Nov, 1969 2:32:52.4 Leo Duart  United States none
1968 2:36:35.6 Jim McDonagh  United States
03 Dec, 1967 2:24:23 Bill Clark (CA)  United States none
18 Dec, 1966 2:24:43.4 Amby Burfoot (CT)  United States 3:58:49 Sue Morse  United States
26 Dec, 1965 2:34:07.6 Tom Osler (NJ)  United States none
24 Jan, 1965 2:37:23 John Kelly (NY)  United States none
19 Jan, 1964 2:20:05 Adolf Gruber-2  Austria none
27 Jan, 1963 2:39:49 Adolf Gruber  Austria none
28 Jan, 1962 2:33:13.6 Ted Corbitt -4  United States none
Not held 1960-1961
25 Jan, 1959 2:29:43 Ted Corbitt-3  United States none
05 Jan, 1958 2:26:44 Ted Corbitt-2  United States none
27 Jan, 1957 2:31:19 Jack Barry-2  United States none
29 Jan, 1956 2:36:09 Jack Barry (PA)  United States none
30 Jan, 1955 2:25:23 Johnny J Kelley  United States none
31 Jan, 1954 2:36:06 Ted Corbitt (NY)  United States none

Winners by Country

Number Country Last Time
62 United States 2017
8 Kenya 2017
7 Russia 2013
6 Ethiopia 2019
3 Ukraine 2008
2 Netherlands 2011
2 Canada 2005
2 Jamaica 1985
2 Austria 1964
1 Mexico 2015
1 Finland 2009
1 Yugoslavia 1996
1 Bermuda 1985

Winners by Continent

Number Continent Last Time
68 North America 2017
14 Africa 2019
9 Europe 2011
7 Asia 2013

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Climate Setter Offset: The Philadelphia Marathon." Climate Action Reserve. N.p., 13 May 2013. Web. 11 Apr 2014.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "2014 GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon." Running USA. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr 2014.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^
  4. ^ "To Philadelphia marathoners, medals are a 'badge of honor'". PhillyVoice. 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  5. ^ Gregory, Kia; Sapatkin, Don (November 21, 2011). "Philly runners' deaths point to dangers of extreme stress on the body". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  6. ^ {}
  7. ^ {}
  8. ^ Tawa, Steve (October 3, 2013). "Gore-Tex Signs On as Title Sponsor for Philadelphia Marathon". CBS Philly. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  9. ^ "Philadelphia Marathon Gets A New Title Partner". 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  10. ^ "AACR Philadelphia Marathon Announces Dietz & Watson as Sponsor of the Half Marathon". PRWeb. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  11. ^ "AACR Philadelphia Marathon Announces Rothman Institute as Continued Sponsor of the 8K | Running USA". Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  12. ^ "AACR Philadelphia Marathon Announces Dunkin' Donuts as Sponsor of Munchkins Run". PRWeb. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
  13. ^ {}
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Kennedy, Michael. "Philadelphia Marathon." Visit Philadelphia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr 2014.
  17. ^ Kennedy, Michael. "Philadelphia Marathon." Visit Philadelphia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr 2014.
  18. ^ "Philadelphia Marathon Course Preview." Clif Bar. N.p., 11 November 2013. Web. 9 Apr 2014. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2014-04-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Philadelphia Marathon Course Preview." Clif Bar. N.p., 11 November 2013. Web. 9 Apr 2014. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2014-04-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Kennedy, Michael. "Philadelphia Marathon." Visit Philadelphia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Apr 2014. <
  21. ^ "Guide to the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon." CBS Philly. N.p., 14 Nov 2013. Web. 9 Apr 2014.
  22. ^ "Guide to the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon." CBS Philly. N.p., 14 Nov 2013. Web. 9 Apr 2014.
  23. ^ "The Races | Philadelphia Marathon". Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  24. ^ "". Retrieved 2018-05-22. External link in |title= (help)
  25. ^ "". Retrieved 2018-05-22. External link in |title= (help)
  26. ^ "Climate Setter Offset: The Philadelphia Marathon." Climate Action Reserve. N.p., 13 May 2013. Web. 11 Apr 2014.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "Climate Setter Offset: The Philadelphia Marathon." Climate Action Reserve. N.p., 13 May 2013. Web. 11 Apr 2014.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°57′53″N 75°10′46″W / 39.96477°N 75.17952°W / 39.96477; -75.17952