Half Marathons: What Price Glory?

It’s well reported that half marathons are the fastest growing distance race in the country.  The training is nowhere near as arduous as that for a full marathon, and yet many participants still get the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment.  Best of all, there are plenty of half marathon race options.

Within Philadelphia city limits, there are now four road half marathons: The Love Run, Oddyssey Half Marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon and Philadelphia Marathon Half Marathon.  Additionally, there are  three trail half marathons in Pennypack Park: ½ Sauer ½ Kraut, Sloppy Cuckoo and Oktoberfest 13.1.

Different races have different prices.   Runners expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $140 for most marathons.  So what’s a reasonable amount to pay for a half marathon?  And how do the Philly halves compare to other nearby races?  Here’s are the prices for the road races:

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Running in Bicycle Lanes From Runner’s Perspective

In the past few years, the City Bicycle laneof Philadelphia has done an admirable job adding more bicycle lanes throughout Center City.  These lanes, in theory, promote the safe coexistence of bicycles, motorists and pedestrians.  In streets with bicycle lanes, bikers have to stay in the lane and off the sidewalk and traffic lanes.  Vehicles have to also stay out of the bicycle lanes.  And pedestrians are free from bikers riding on the sidewalk.

In reality, of course, it’s not that simple.  As city bicyclists know, bicycle lanes are often occupied or blocked by construction, delivery trucks or parked cars.  The Complete Streets Bill, passed by City Council last year, explicitly prohibits parking in bicycle lanes and increases fines for bicycle violations to $75 (from $3).  Of course, the City also has a long-standing tradition of allowing cars near religious institutions to park in the bike lanes on weekends, particularly if they have pamphlets from those institutions on their dashboards.

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Philadelphia’s Cancellation of the 20in24 Race Was a Mistake

June 1, 2013 was the first day of the North Face Endurance Challenge in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Sterling, Virginia.  In temperatures of 90 degrees, 287 entrants finished 50 miles, and 430 more finished the 50K.

The Western States Endurance, featuring 18,000 feet of climbing and 23,000 feet of descent, was on the weekend of June 29-30, 2013.  Despite a high of 102 degrees, 277 competitors finished the 100.2 miles in less than 30 hours.

Just this past week, 81 of 96 entrants finished the 135-mile Badwater ultramarathon.  Starting below sea level at Death Valley and finishing 8,300 feet up Mt. Whitney, it was over 100 degrees at the start and approached 99 degrees at the finish.

These recent races are relevant in Philly, of course, due to this past weekend’s cancellation of the Back on My Feet 20in24 Lone Ranger Ultra-Marathon, Relay Challenge and other assorted races.   As the City of Philadelphia, through the Parks and Recreation Department and through providing necessary security and medical services, is a necessary partner to Back on My Feet in holding the race, its decision to postpone the race this weekend was final.

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Racing vs. Training: What’s the Proper Balance?

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I have one friend who runs every day (and runs pretty fast).  His grand total of official races he’s run?  One.  He just does not do races.  Another friend, who also runs every day, once logged around 40 races in one year.  And somewhere between those two is another friend who runs perhaps three times a week but plans to run 17 races this year.

What’s the proper amount of races per year in which to participate in comparison to just training?  Having races for which to train can help motivate people to keep running even in the dead of winter, the sogginess of spring or the heat of summer.  On the other hand, too many races can burn someone out.  In fact, having too many races may actually be detrimental to your performance due to lessened training and recovery time.

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Philadelphia Runs for Boston

City HallThe bombings at the Boston Marathon may have disrupted one race and caused the loss of life and hundreds of injuries in just one city, but in reality, it affected the rest of the country.  Fellow runners, in particular, have felt a kinship to the marathoners because they know about the hard work and dedication it takes to train for races as well as the importance of support from our friends and relatives who watch our races.  And what better way for fellow runners across the nation to show solidarity and pay  tribute to those in Boston than taking part in a group run.

Thanks to the coordination of Ryan Callahan of Philadelphia Runner, one of the city’s premier running stores, Philly had a citywide group run in support of Boston.  We were far from the only city to take part, as many cities showed their support, but our participation was pretty impressive.  What started during Tuesday afternoon planning as just a small scale gathering of three or four running groups eventually grew to thirty running  clubs, stores and organizations taking part.  Groups were to run from specific meet-up spots to City Hall before running to Independence Mall.  South Philadelphia’s meet up spot had 75-80 runners alone, and City Hall’s courtyard hosted a gathering of about 3,000 runners.

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Experiencing a Run in Boston

Boston CommonJust about everywhere I travel for work, I try to get out for a run.  There’s no better way to get a good feel for a city than by venturing out, on foot, on its streets.

In January 2011, while visiting for business, I finally had the opportunity to run in Boston.  Though it was extremely frigid, with snow and ice covering the Charles River running trail, it was quite a thrill to run in the city home to the world’s most legendary marathon.

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Broad Street Blues: Pros and Cons of New Lottery Procedure for BSR

As many in the Philadelphia running commuBroad Street Runnity know, entrance into this year’s Broad Street Run will be a bit different than prior years.  Instead of a free-for-all, first-come, first-serve for most entrants, registration for this year’s run is primarily based on a lottery.  Starting on Monday, February 4, there’s a twelve day period to register, but it does not matter whether you register on the first or last day (though the organizers are recommending that people register alphabetically). 

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