Philly 10K Race Recap

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | race recap

Sep 01

Hey, I hope you had a great weekend!  On Sunday, I ran the Philly 10K and spoiler alert…I met my race goal and PR’d!

So how the HECK did that happen?  Check out my race recap of the Philly 10K below and find out!

The Philly 10K, what a great race! Check out my recap! @thephilly10K #thephilly10K #run215 Click To Tweet

This year I finally got to run the Philly 10K and it was awesome! Check out my recap - featuring a new PR!

Philly 10K Race Recap

I am so excited to be sharing my experiences with the Philly 10K with you.  This is the 2nd year of this race that “runs” through South Philly, so different from the typical Philadelphia race that spends most of its time on Kelly and MLK drives, which can honestly get really boring!  I”ve been craving new scenery this year on all my races, so I had to do whatever it takes to make sure I got a bib for the highly sought after Philly 10K!

You might remember that I volunteered at the inaugural event last year since it sold out so quickly.  This year boasted a new course, a unique bib pickup party, and lots and lots of swag – for sale of course!

Bib Pickup Party

The bib pickup was available on Friday evening and on Saturday afternoon leading up to the race.  Bret and I decided to go on Friday after he got off from work.  We hopped on the Broad Street Subway and walked a few blocks to get to 2nd and Pine, which was all decked out for what looked like a backyard party.  We were able to easily pick up our bibs and bags with the (non-tech) T-shirt included in our registration.  Beers provided by Philadelphia Brewing Company were $5, but since I bought a $10 beer glass souvenir, I only had to pay $3 for beer  There were food trucks where you could get smoothies, sliders, or (admittedly) greasy sandwiches.  There was also a photobooth, so Bret and I got inside to take a couple of pics.

It was a pretty cool way to kick off a race…no expo for the Philly 10K!  I do wish that there were healthier options for the food truck.  And I had no idea there would be so much nice swag for the race…too bad I don’t pay $40 for technical T-shirts!

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The Night Before

I had a pretty nice Saturday, went to the batting cage to prepare for softball season and had a tasty dinner and drinks with friends.  In the evening I laid out my clothes, as always, to be ready first thing in the morning.

But as you know if you’ve been following my training, I’ve been a real head case about the Philly 10K.  I’ve been telling everyone that I was really hoping for a PR for this race.  So of course going to bed, it was all I could think about and worry about.  I don’t even remember when I fell asleep, but I know that I woke up in the middle of the night…several times.


Race Morning

I got up at 5:30 am to have my typical breakfast of an English muffin with strawberry preserves.  I was already a little tense.  Bret woke up sometime around 6, as we were going to head down to South Philly at 6:30 using the Indego bike share.  It was pretty cool that the Philly 10K sponsored a free 30-minute ride to ease the anticipated traffic issues.  But since Bret and I are members of the bike share, we just grabbed bikes at the nearest dock location and hopped on.

We dropped off our bikes and began our walk down towards the start.  We saw a few people with their bibs heading down to South Street.  As we were walking down the street, I saw a big fat mouse scurrying along a building, just a few feet away from me – GROSS!!!  That really freaked me out.  Bret joked that it was a good luck mouse.  I was not amused.

The City Fit Girls Run Club wanted to meet for a group photo around 6:55-7:00, so I headed towards 13th and Pine as Bret headed towards the corrals down on South Street.  However, our fearless leaders were a bit late!  We got our picture, but I had hardly any time to really get mentally ready for the start of the race.


City Fit Girls ready to run!

The Starting Line

I was designated to line up in Corral D, and Bret was in Corral A.  Since we separated, I had to try to find him to wish him luck before the race.  7:30 was rapidly coming, and I realized I didn’t hit the port-a-potty or do any good stretches before the race, though the bike ride did loosen me up.  I did find Bret though, then hurried to the back of the line (There was also a Corral E).  There were quite a few City Fit Girls in the corral with me.  There seemed to be SO many people lined up to race.  I believe there were 4000-5000 people running the Philly 10k.

Waiting to get going!

I got my headphones on and my Kid Cudi Pandora station queued up to go, did a few leg swings, and we were already moving forward to the starting line.  Thankfully, the humidity I was worried about all week was very low – at least it felt that way to me.  It may have been in the upper 70’s or 80 degrees.  I took a few photos at the start, and we were off!

Miles 1-3

As I previously mentioned, the goal was to start the first mile at a 9:40 pace.  I really thought this would be impossible.  How the heck would I have that much gas in the tank from the start?  I’m used to running 11+ minute miles!  I don’t know how it happened, but I had it!  Good training perhaps??

I don’t remember what pace I signed up for when I registered several months ago, but I actually felt like I was “stuck” behind and with a lot of “slower” people.  Yes, I feel bad saying this.  But it was a struggle to get moving because not only were people not moving very quickly, the streets in South Philly are so narrow and they were lined with cars on both sides of the street.  I assume the owners were supposed to move them for the race, but they either missed or ignored the memo.  Someone slammed into a side mirror and bent it backward while they were running.  I said out loud, “It’s not that serious”.  Of course people were bobbing and weaving hectically, running on the sidewalk.  I didn’t do that – I learned the tricks of the trade at the Cherry Blossom Run – and I think it helped me not to burn out too quickly, which was my biggest fear!

Regardless, I was feeling good and needed a person to push me to keep going.  I decided to “chase” Kelly, one of the City Fit Girls.  She was going a really good pace and I knew that if I stuck with her, I’d stay on target – sub 10-minute pace.  She didn’t know I was following her though, haha!

This is the first race I can remember not taking pictures during the course!  But honestly, it just wasn’t that scenic to me.  South Philly is a bit…rough around the edges.  And we passed some rough areas.  It was cool, but not worth fumbling with my phone trying to take a picture.  Again, I’m learning how to race!

Splits:  9:37, 9:35, 9:19

Miles 3-6.2

But Kelly was literally flying on the course, well it seemed like it anyway!  At first I thought I was significantly slowing down but no – she was just going really fast!  So the second half of the course, I needed to find a new target.  But it was tough – I just couldn’t seem to stick to one person, and I was feeling like I was slowing down.

The weather didn’t bother me one bit…sure, I was covered in sweat but I’m pretty used to that by now!  I almost felt like a machine.  I was so determined and just kept on running!  I had my Nathan water bottle so I didn’t think about stopping for hydration.  I knew I was okay.  I did bring one Clif Shotblok just in case…I took it a little bit after mile 3.

I didn’t really look at my watch – I did look at the clock at each mile marker, so I knew I was doing less than 10-minute miles, so I was happy.  I had to keep doing what I was doing because PR!!

The last 2 miles felt like they would never end.  Finally, I got water at the 3rd hydration stop, walking for half a block.  This was between miles 4 and 5…I think.  The only reason I took it was because I was mentally losing my nerve.  Did I lose some valuable seconds in the process?  Who knows!

By this point I found two women who looked like twins from the back (yes I called them the Doublemint twins in my head) and another couple to follow to push me to the end.  But every time I thought we were close to being done, we had to make another turn, and another turn!  It was  torturous because I really thought I saw the finish line a mile before we would finally get there!

But at last, I get to the mile 6 marker and I’m turning the last corner and heading towards the finish!  I was pretty sure at this point that I beat my previous PR of 1:02:31, but I didn’t know by how much.  Somehow I find another boost of  energy and start to run like hell!  I pass the twins, I feel like I’m passing everyone!  And I’m done!

Splits:  9:49, 9:40, 9:08

Race Results

59:32.  59:32!!  My new 10K PR!  I couldn’t be happier!!  Leading up to the race, I really didn’t think it could happen.  I hoped it would, but I wasn’t sure I was tough enough to make it happen.  Now I know that I am!

After the Race


After the race, I was so out of it…I was wondering where Bret was, but I figured he vanished since he probably finished 20 minutes before I did.  Unfortunately, I later found out that he was there to see me finish…and I didn’t even realize it.

I wandered into a couple of lines to get water, a banana, and the race print, which was like a long sheet of paper with a map of Philly and its many neighborhoods.  I fumbled with this stuff and went to a post-race yoga session, which was pretty good but I didn’t appreciate the stares from onlookers.

Finally I remembered Bret had his phone and we met up in the beer garden area.  It was SO crowded.  Usually that doesn’t bother me, but I felt a bit overwhelmed.  A DJ was spinning tunes and people seemed to be having a good time though.  And it was HOT.


So many people!

Before we left to head back home, I got to catch up with Krissie from Philly Nerd Girl!  She had a great race!  Hopefully we’ll get to see each other again soon, she is always fun to talk to!

Soon after this, I find out that they ran out of our free custard from Shake Shack.  With that disappointment, I was ready for a long walk back home.  Mischief managed!

Philly 10K

Krissie of Philly Nerd Girl and I!


Finally, I know what all the buzz is about when it comes to the Philly 10K.  They did a really great job this year and provided a very memorable race for me.  Of course, there is always room for improvement, which I’m sure will happen as the race grows year after year.


  • The race is very organized!  I had no collisions with people trying to cross the course (always a pet peeve of mine!)
  • Well-staffed hydration stations.  I only used one, but it was very painless.  Last year was rough from the perspective as a volunteer, but this year they had 3 locations, which I’m sure helped!
  • Lots of merchandise available for purchase.  As you could see above, the swag was legit!
  • Shady blocks on the course.  When it really started to heat up, it was a relief to get some shade.
  • Decent crowd support, no dead zones.  I’m pretty sure there were spectators along the entire course, even if they were a little quiet!
  • Great local beers and music at the afterparty.   I enjoyed the Walt Wit included with my registration, and the DJ was fun.


  • No technical T-shirt or race medal.  You’ve just got to accept that going in.  I don’t chase bling, but I love a good running shirt.  The design this year was heather gray – not my favorite.  Other options for a shirt were way too expensive.  We did get a cool print with a map of the city; it was just extremely awkward to carry around after the race.
  • Very crowded the first 2 miles.  In South Philly, the streets are very narrow so when you consider that, add a few hundred runners, and cars on both sides of the road…you’re going to struggle.
  • The course is just okay, not amazing.  I kept hearing all this hype about how amazing it is to run in South Philly and Center City, but it just didn’t do it for me.  Granted, I was in tunnel vision, but not too much stood out for me on the course.
  • No race photos.  I am always willing to pay for a good race photo.  They should really consider this next year, especially since it is such a unique course.
  • Very chaotic after the race.  There was no way to know where anything was located.  I kept losing my boyfriend, which was very frustrating.  Larger signage and a clear map of the Post-race activities is definitely needed in the future.
  • They ran out of custard! Finishers were entitled to a free custard from Shake Shack.  Due to the overall craziness and extremely long lines, I missed out.  The good news is that I can redeem my custard at a local Shake Shack.  But it’s just the principle of the matter!


Thanks to Philadelphia Runner and all of the organizers, sponsors and volunteers at the Philly 10K.  Everything was very well-organized and this is a very Philadelphian race, not unlike the Broad Street Run – which is definitely a compliment!

As always, I have to thank Coach Kristy for another successful race!  After battling bad weather at the Half Sauer Half Kraut, which really killed my half marathon hopes, I’m glad everything worked out this time!  This is a great boost for me to get ready for my fall races – I want to keep up the momentum!

Most of my race training, I run alone…but this cycle I had quite a few good runs with Bret, especially long runs and runs followed by strides.  As expected,  he did a great job, finishing in 48:36, which I believe is a PR for him too!  So thank you, Bret!

And thank you to EVERYONE who encouraged me, left supportive comments on Facebook and Instagram, everyone who calmed me down when I was freaking out…I was able to get it done because of your support!

To say I can run a 10K in sub-60 is such a huge accomplishment for me.  I’ve been working so hard this year, and it feels good to know that I’m doing something right! I can’t wait to see what happens in the fall…

Note:  I’ve also posted my review of this race on – it’s a free site 100% dedicated to race reviews.  I’m a BibRave Pro Ambassador for 2016, and I’d love if you considered joining the site!

Have you had any races that exceeded your expectations?  Yes or no to a race medal?  

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