Philadelphia Marathon Running Playlist

Philadelphia Marathon, race medals

(Photo: Philadelphia Marathon)

It’s seven weeks into my 16-week training plan for the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18, 2012. To inject a little excitement into my training routine and get me pumped to run Philly for the first time, I put together a Philadelphia Marathon Running Playlist.

Here are just a few songs about the City of Brotherly Love, in no particular order, that make for good running company. Enjoy and please list any great Philly running songs I may have missed in the comments!

1)   “Gonna Fly Now” Bill Conti

No Philadelphia running mix would be complete without the theme from Rocky.  

2)   “I-76″ G. Love & Special Sauce

Hands down, this ode to the Philadelphia 76ers and the highways of Philly is my favorite song about the City of Brotherly Love. It will help you find your running groove for sure.

3)   “Summertime” DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

It wouldn’t be a proper Philadelphia playlist without some Will Smith. For more comic effect The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire theme song would work in a pinch too. But I’ve always liked the laid back vibe of Smith’s ode to hot summer days in West Philly.

4)   “Streets of Philadelphia” The Fray

Yes, The Boss’s version is the original and I’m sure many will disagree with me, but I prefer The Fray’s rendition. It feels a little more raw and running friendly. Either way, lyrics like “I walked the avenue, ’til my legs felt like stone,” don’t get any better for marathon training.

5)  “Philly Night” Berry Jones

A 2010 retro dance pop number from Philly collective Berry Jones, it’s the perfect song for when you need to pick up the pace.

6)   “Ring My Bell” Anita Ward

Okay, it’s not exactly about Philadelphia, but it does employ a very effective bell euphemism, and Philly is home to America’s most famous bell. Plus, the song does have lyrics like, “let yourself be free.” We can all pretend that’s about the Liberty Bell.

7)   “Ill State of Mind” MC NeeKo featuring Deana Marie

No, it’s not exactly something you can download from iTunes since it’s simply a remix of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” with lyrics about Philadelphia. But it’s still pretty awesome, and that’s coming from a New Yorker. Check it out on YouTube.

8)   “Philadelphia Freedom” Elton John

I have no idea what possessed The Rocket Man to write this song, but it’s a pretty groovy time capsule right out of the ‘70s.

9)   “Motownphilly” Boyz II Men

Never in all my days did I think I’d get to put my junior high crush, Boyz II Men, on a running mix. Thank you Philadelphia Marathon for giving me the perfect opportunity!

10)  “Punk Rock Girl” The Dead Milkmen

This Gen X anthem recorded in 1988 features Philly locations of yore in lyrical references to Zipperhead, a clothing store, and Philly Pizza Company, which were located on the city’s famous South Street.

11)   “Eye of the Tiger” Survivor

The theme from Rocky III sits on many a running playlist and for good reason. Just think of it when you’re bounding past the Art Museum at mile 26, ready to claim your moment of glory.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning hosts On The Run for New York Road Runners. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now she freelances as a running reporter. She's run 7 marathons, 15 halves, 4 triathlons, sings in an '80s cover band, spoils her dog and travels compulsively.

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09 2012

2 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1

    I love that you themed your list to the city … and running to “Eye of the Tiger” and the Rocky theme is a guaranteed win, for sure!

    • Karla Bruning
      Karla #

      Thanks, Sadye! I love making themed lists for races I’m running. I’ve got New York and Disney running playlists too. It helps get me pumped.

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