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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