I’m Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014

Irina Mashkantceva wins the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. (Philadelphia Marathon)

It’s official. I’m running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014 on Sunday, November 23! I’d been debating which marathon, if any, to run this fall and I’ve finally committed to running Philly as a guest of sponsor GORE-TEX.

While I considered—and was invited to—a few other marathons in the U.S. and Canada, I decided on Philly for a few reasons.

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2014

Pausing for a photo just before a PR finish at the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. (RunKarlaRun.com)

1) PR Course: I ran my current marathon personal best of 4:28:06 at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012. I failed to best it at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, despite perfect weather and a pancake flat course, thanks to a cold that settled in two weeks before race day and decided to linger.

2) Redemption: I feel like I have unfinished business in Philadelphia. Back in 2012, I’d been zipping along on target for a 4:14 finish when a quad cramp struck after the 20-mile mark and decided to linger. I lost 14 minutes in the last 10K, as I stopped to stretch the cramp a few times, jogging slowly in between. While I was ecstatic about my finish time, a new personal best, I knew I had even more in me. I want to return to Philly and run the time I should have two years ago: 4:15.

3) Race Date: The timing is right. I looked at a few races earlier in October up and down the Eastern seaboard. But I either had other things scheduled those weekends or knew I wouldn’t be in PR shape yet. My best performances have come at the New York City Marathon and Philadelphia Marathon, both in November. When I raced in October at the Chicago Marathon and Toronto Waterfront Marathon, I struggled. Sure, I could just start training earlier. But I don’t think that’s all there is to it. I think more training and racing in cooler temps has worked for me. For now, November is my marathon month.

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014

Getting a finish line high-five from the Philly Mayor. (Island Photography)

4) Location: Philadelphia is an easy 95-minute train ride or drive from my home in New York City, minimizing travel hassles that could hamper performance—delayed, canceled or rerouted flights (they’ve all happened to me), lost luggage (yup, happened) time-zone changes, mid-flight leg swelling, the list goes on and on.

5) Familiarity: With a big personal best on my mind, I want to run a race I know rather than risk four months of training on something new. I was seriously considering two other races I’ve never run. One was in the South, where humidity might be a factor. Humidity has gotten me at races before. Another race was out West, where the time difference and elevation might be a factor. You know how the saying goes: better the devil you know.

6) Fun Factor: I loved the Philadelphia Marathon. The race was a big-city marathon with a small town feel. The course support and spectators lining the street were fantastic. The course itself was largely flat with just a few small, rolling hills, and the city was a great place to spend a weekend.

So that was it. I was sold. Back to Philly I go!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if you’re looking for a great East Coast fall marathon that doesn’t have a lottery, the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014 is a great option. The fact that I’m returning for a second go-round is a testament. The race weekend also includes a half-marathon that runs simultaneously with the marathon on Sunday, November 23, and an 8K and Kids Fun Run on Saturday, November 22.

Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014

Running some strides in my tri gear. (RunKarlaRun.com)

GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014 Training

Training has been going shockingly well so far. I don’t quite know why I’m shocked, but I’ll take it!

I’ve put together my own training plan, a mash-up of a few programs and types of workouts that I know work well for me. I eased into training with 20 miles in Week 1 and bumped it up to 25 miles in Week 2. As I near the end of Week 3, I’m looking at my first double digit long run of the training cycle, my first since the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in June.

And since I’m still training for a triathlon in 10 days, I’ve also logged 48 miles on the bike and 1.2 miles in the water during those two weeks.

On the way to Philly, I’ll be running a few other races as tune-ups, including the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco and the Triathlon Valleyfield outside of Montreal next week. I’ll likely add a September tune-up race and some fun runs, as well.

So here’s goes. I feel unusually determined about this marathon training season. Time to run some serious PRs. As the Rocky theme song goes, “Gonna Fly Now!”

As mentioned above, I’m running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon 2014 as a guest of GORE-TEX. As always, all posts and opinions are purely my own. I’m always honest about my experiences. Seriously. For more information, read my Disclosure policy.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


08 2014

24 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Sounds like an awesome race!! I’m deteined to return to my half PR one year (NYC Half) and see how I can do with more speed and hill work!

    I love running in cooler weather too!

    Good luck with your training :)
    Kaella (On The Run) recently posted..Things I’m Loving Friday #19My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Hope you’re able to make it back to NYC Half soon! I love that race too. I haven’t run my PR half marathon course again (Staten Island), but it’s tempting!

  2. 3

    Sounds like a lot of good training leading up to the fall. I can’t wait for all, all the fun stuff seems to happen after Labor Day.
    Lesley recently posted..Back to SpinMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I agree! Fall is my favorite season, especially when it comes to running!

  3. 5

    Fantastic. 😀

    Sending you lots of good luck for many more weeks of good training, so you’ll rock Philly. I love hanging out in that city. Have a donut at Federal Donut for me.
    Elle recently posted..A Long Way to PunoMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you! You know, I’ve never been to Federal Donut? I’ve been to Philly at least five times, if not more and have never made it there. Will have to put it on the list!

  4. 7

    I am so excited for you! Good luck with your training and grabbing that amazing time goal!!

  5. 9

    Oh exciting! I’m running Philly too for the second year in a row! My boyfriend and I decided to run it last year on a whim after we didn’t get into the Chicago Marathon. I ended up LOVING IT for all the reasons you mentioned above, and even though my training was lousy, I ended up with a 28-MINUTE PR! I’m hoping for better, more consistent training this year and an equal or greater PR, though it’ll probably be more of a long shot, haha! Maybe I’ll see you there!!!
    Katherine recently posted..This Week Can Suck ItMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Yay!! A 28-minute PR? That’s amazing! So happy to have a blog buddy also training for and doing Philly. Here’s to a great training season!

  6. 11

    That sounds like a great race, and your experience and reasons will make it exciting! I am itching to do another marathon but have triathlon training going on now, I’ll have to check the dates for Philly!
    Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! recently posted..Friday Five: Ways the Second Whole 30 is Easier Than the FirstMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I’m at the end of tri training myself, with a race in a week. Then I’ll be focused on the marathon. Philly is Nov. 23!

  7. 13

    YAY! So excited for you. Todd is running Philly this year as his second full, so we will definitely be keeping an eye out for you! 😀

    • Karla Bruning

      Yay! Katherine at FoodFitnessFantasy is running too. We should have a meet-up!

  8. 15

    Yay!! Sounds like a good choice. Can’t wait to follow along with your training and cheer you on!
    Emily recently posted..2014 Zooma ChicagoMy Profile

  9. 17

    That’s exciting! I think you can run the PB you should have last time. Good choice to run Philly – plenty of time to prepare and conditions should be ideal for marathon racing that time of year. Good luck!
    Ewen recently posted..City to Surf Number 30My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks! I’m really excited about the decision. It’s re-invigorated my training and I’m determined to get that PR!

  10. 19

    So excited for you and to follow along with your training, new course PR here you go!
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..One Month Out, Welcome to the GrindMy Profile

  11. 21

    I love Philadelphia. I ran the Rock n Roll half there last fall and I lived there in my 20s. I have a soft spot for the city. I hope you have a fantastic marathon (and training cycle)!

    I’m jealous you’re running the Nike half in San Francisco. That city is on my bucket list.
    Judith recently posted..Running After 40My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks! I have a soft spot for Philly too. My best friend used to live there, and I discovered what a great town it is while visiting her. Great place to run too! And I’m super psyched about the Nike Half in San Fran. That one’s been on my bucket list since I started running!

  12. 23

    I’m registered to run my second Philadelphia Marathon, so hopefully I’ll bump into you there :)

    Training has been less than ideal thus far, so I’m thinking of running the half instead of the full. Good thing I have until race morning to change my mind. Love my city, and love running through the streets here. The best spectators/support in a race, ever!
    Lindy recently posted..Bucks County Half Marathon 2015 Registration OpensMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Exciting! There’ll be a lot of us blogger there. We should have a meet-up! Sorry your training hasn’t been going well, but there are still a lot of weeks left. Love that we have the options of switching distances. I’m really looking forward to running this one again!


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