5 Ultimate Races to Run in Philly

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running

Feb 20

If you’re a runner in Philadelphia, you’re fortunate to have such a large variety of races to choose from year-round!  But which ones are worth checking out?  I’m so excited to share a quick guide to 5 of the ultimate races you have to run in Philly!  Keep these races on your radar throughout the year!

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5 Ultimate Philly Races5 Ultimate Races in Philly

I have been running races in the City of Brotherly Love since 2011, and over the years, I’ve been able to run quite a few in the city spanning from 5K’s to the half marathon distance.  Even though I have frequently said that I’m a bit over Philly races and have been craving some new scenery, I wanted to share 5 of the ultimate Philly races that are definitely worth checking out!  Philadelphia is a great city for runners with something for everyone!

Run for Clean Air 5K/10K – Early-Mid April

PGW Run for Clean Air

Clean Air Team in 2015

Run for Clean Air is the annual Earth Day 5K in Philadelphia, and it is a lot of fun!  It starts right in front of the Art Museum (aka Rocky) Steps and has a straightforward out and back course.  But it’s not the course that makes this race fun.  There are so many people:  families, pets, runners and walkers of all ages and abilities, many who are passionate about the environment!  That’s a cause that means a lot to me, so it’s great to be part of an event that is a Certified Green Run – everything’s paperless and even the race bibs can be planted!

Last year the Clean Air Run added a beer garden, which I’m sure will be back!  And the snacks were healthy and delicious!  This year they’ve added a 10K as well.  I’ll be back running with my company team, this is definitely my favorite 5K in the city!  Here are some past recaps:

Consider this race if you’re eco-friendly and want to have fun with the whole family for a great price!

Broad Street Run – First Weekend in May

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The Broad Street Run has to be THE ultimate Philadelphia race.   Broad Street is a 10-mile race, mostly downhill, that takes you from North Philly down to the Navy Yard, with some great sights along the way!  Everyone is obsessed with Broad Street.  If you haven’t run it, you’re not a real Philly runner – so they say! I have completed this race twice, back in 2011 and 2012.  This is one of those races that people love to run year after year.  In early May, the weather can be unpredictable so that can definitely make things interesting when the big day comes.

A couple of years ago, Broad Street added a lottery system, capping to about 40,000 runners, and the lottery period just ended last week.  BUT, you can still sign up for one of the charity teams below and raise money for a good cause, plus get great perks!  Hurry while there are still openings!

I’m not signed up this year, I’m focusing on the Cherry Blossom Run and documenting my training along the way, but I’ve got quite a few friends that are signed up and I look forward to cheering them on!

You may also like:  Being a Love Run Race Ambassador + HUGE Giveaway!

Consider this run if you like huge crowds and want to support Philadelphia programs.  

Oddyssey Half Marathon – Early-Mid June

Oddyssey Half Marathon

Oddyssey Half Marathon 2012

That’s no typo – The Oddyssey Half Marathon follows the beat of its own drum.  There’s no other long distance race in Philly that I’ve seen like it!

There are multiple “stations” throughout the course where you can stop and have some fun – giant Jenga, dunk tanks, cornhole!  Of course if you want to take things more seriously (like I did), you can run it like any other race.  But it’s great that the Oddyssey knows how to just chill out!

Even though there were some tough hills that I struggled with, I have very fond memories of this race since the entertainment was a welcome distraction!  I was sprayed with a water gun by a cowboy!  I saw so many runners dressed up as Mario and Luigi, and there were lots and lots of tutus on women and men!  I even saw Adam and Eve (with an apple)!

I haven’t signed up for this race because it’s the same weekend of the Half Sauer Half Kraut Half Marathon that I plan to run with Bret…but I may need to look at this one again for next year!  The organizers are awesome and have FREE training runs going on, which is great if you’re in the area!

Consider this run if you like wearing costumes and getting a great medal and swag!  

Philly 10K – Late August

Love this picture of us!

In 2014, the inaugural Philly 10K was a HUGE hit.  Unlike most races in Philly, this one isn’t at the Art Museum – the course takes you through South Philly, Center City, Old City, and down South Street. The race sold out in record time so I didn’t get to sign up, but I did get to help out as a volunteer at a water stop.  It was really a great experience, and the organizers did an awesome job, especially handling the unbearable September heat!

Fortunately, I was able to run the race in 2015 and had a great time! Check out my recap of the 2015 Philly 10K!

Consider this run if you like smaller races with local charm but don’t mind paying a little extra for the experience!  

Philadelphia Marathon/Half Marathon – Late November

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I’ve written about my awful experience at the Philadelphia Half Marathon, but that was due to my own mistakes, nothing against the race itself!  I have had the joy of watching my friends run the half marathon and marathon distances over the years, and the Philly Marathon has an electric energy unlike any other race I’ve ever witnessed or experienced.

The course starts in front of the Art Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and ventures through Old City, Center City, University, Fairmount Park, and for the marathoners goes up to Manayunk and back.  It really is a beautiful course and most of the way has tons of support.  This is a great race for beginners!  I’m so proud that this was where I was able to run my first marathon!

Registration begins on April 1, so definitely check it out!

Consider this run if you love a supportive crowd and are going for a PR!   

Have you ever run any of these ultimate Philly races or plan to run any this year?  If you could only pick one, which one would you choose?   

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