The March Madness Run: 20 Miles by Philly’s College Basketball Arenas

The marathon training schedule said it was time for a 20 mile run.  Sure, I could have done something simple, such as run the Kelly Drive loop and add in a trip to and from Manayunk.  You can do that anytime, though.

It’s March, which means that it’s one of my favorite times of the year with the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  Philadelphia has a storied tradition of college basketball, particularly with its six Division I programs in the city or just outside of it (counting Villanova).

So, in honor of March Madness, here’s pictures from today’s 20 mile run by the five Division I college basketball arenas within city limits. I could have also continued onwards for another 6 miles to the Wells Fargo Center, where Villanova plays some of its games, but since Villanova didn’t really show up at the end of the season, I didn’t feel the need to show up there at the end of my run either.


First stop: Temple University – About 2.7 miles up on North Broad Street is the Liancouras Center, home of the Temple Owls.  For today and Tuesday, it is also, temporarily, the host of the NCAA Women’s Basketball East Regional.  Most notable observation today – It must be really safe based on all the police presence all around.








Second stop: LaSalle University -About 4.5 miles up North Broad Street and then bearing Northwest is the Tom Gola Arena, home of the LaSalle Explorers.  Through the years, LaSalle has had some terrific players, Unfortunately, the Explorers were last relevant in the NCAA tournament two decades ago, or before much of the current student body was born.  Most notable observation today -Nice employees, with a security officer pausing while walking to allow me to take my picture without him in it, and another allowing me to use the restroom.
Third stop: St. Joseph’s University – A long 6.4 mile stretch traveling Southwest to West Philadelphia brings me to Hagan Arena, home of the St. Joseph’s Hawks.  St. Joe’s had a terrific season in 2004, going undefeated in the regular season, making the Elite 8 and producing two NBA first rounders.  The program has seen better basketball days.  Most notable observation today – Larry’s Steaks is located right across the street, and I assume it gets a lot of post-game business from hungry patrons.
Fourth stop: Drexel University – Traveling 4.4 miles Southeast brings me back towards downtown and the John A. Daskalakis Athletic Center, home of the Drexel Dragons.  The campus has several new, state-of-the-art buildings on campus.  Unfortunately, the basketball team is somewhat of an afterthough as it’s not in the Big 5 round robin and plays in the CAA.  Most notable observation today – Behind the main entrance is a great combination building of a bar on the first level and recreation center on the second level.
Fifth stop: University of Pennsylvania – Half a mile away from the DAC is the Palestra, home of the Penn Quakers.  The building is the most historic in college basketball  history, having hosted more games than any other.  Penn’s basketball team also currently features Denzel Washington’s son.  Most notable observation today – There’s always old Penn alums walking through campus with their families pointing out different things they used to do on campus instead of going to school sporting events.
About 1.3 miles across the South Street Bridge brings me back home after a long, cold and tiring 20 mile run.

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