I ran the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 with race sponsor GORE-TEX, returning to the City of Brotherly Love for the third time as a runner. I’d scored a personal best at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2012, ran my third fastest 13.1-miler at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2014, and I was back to give the half-marathon another go on Sunday, November 22.
Nearly 22,000 runners finished races at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Weekend, with 10,899 finishers in the half-marathon, another 9,159 in the marathon, and 1,910 in the 8K. And approximately 60,000 spectators lined the course to cheer us on. My husband, Phil, joined me, along with a bunch of our running teammates.
The event is a big city race with a small town feel. Unlike more crowded marathons in New York and Chicago, runners wander into corrals just 15 minutes or so before the race’s 7 a.m. start. The vibe is relaxed and unhurried. It feels like the city simply wants you to relax and have a good time. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is at the start and the finish passing out high-fives to runners, setting the tone for a friendly race experience.
The Comcast Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center has a great selection of vendors. Last year, I bought some last minute race items. This year, I picked up some Clif Shots and a Christmas present for Phil. Plus, it’s fun to try some GORE-TEX shoes and splash around in the water pools at the GORE-TEX booth.
Seriously you guys, if you run in the rain or snow, you need a pair of these shoes. They’ve been a game-changer for me. New Balance, Brooks, Asics, Saucony, The North Face, Salomon, and La Sportiva all make running shoes with GORE-TEX lining. Just look for models with GTX in the name.
How does it work? The GORE-TEX lining has more than 9 billion pores per square inch. Each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water. That means rain, puddle water, snow, and the like can’t get into your shoes (unless they spill over the top). At the same time, those pores are 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule, so sweat can get out.
Your feet stay dry, your shoes stay breathable. It’s a win-win. If you’re among the 75% of runners who head outdoors in cold and wet weather, have ever run in soggy shoes and waited days for them them to dry out, check out some GORE-TEX kicks. I’ve genuinely become an evangelist for this brand. I love it.
Phil and I left our hotel—1.5 miles to the start—at 5:45 a.m. and found a cab within 5 minutes. We were on site by 6 a.m. How’s that for no muss, no fuss? That’s what I mean about Philly being a low-key race. You could never do that in New York. Don’t get me wrong: the New York City Marathon is my favorite race ever, but it’s refreshing to run a big-city race where getting to the start isn’t an ordeal.
Despite heightened security at all of the start area entry points, we waited less than 5 minutes to get into the staging ground.
We found a bank of port-a-potties close to the entrance that no one seemed to be using. So we didn’t have to wait in line at all. Love that! The bathrooms near the corrals closer to the start time are much more crowded.
Baggage was easy to find, and by the time we’d used the bathroom and dropped off our bag, we still had 35 minutes to kill before the start. Read the rest of this entry →