Records Break at Philly Marathon
BY DAVID BLOCK
PHILADELPHIA, PA--Before Bill Rodgers left his mark at the 1975 Boston Marathon where he clocked 2:09:55, he was establishing his running career in other cities such as Philadelphia. In 1974, he won the Philadelphia Marathon, 2:21:47.
In 2016, Rodgers returned to Philadelphia not to compete, but for today's runners to meet him at the marathon expo.
"The sport of running has changed so much," said Rodgers to this Runner's Gazette writer. "It's now global. The cities are more welcoming."
Rodgers observed that women helped make running a family sport.
"They'd bring their kids and then they'd start running, too," said Rodgers. "It's great how this sport is always growing."
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney kicked off marathon weekend by welcoming the runners and volunteers.
He then told this Runner's Gazette writer:
"I'm glad to now be part of it. I've been following the Philadelphia Marathon for years. It's a great race."
No doubt, the Philadelphia Marathon and the city of Brotherly Love have a rich history.
History was made at the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon (November 20).
Kimutai Cheruiyot set a new course record at the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon. His finishing time of 2:15:53 shattered the previous record of 2:16:47, which Joseph Nderitu set in 2003.
In addition to winning the lion's share of $10,000.00, Cheruiyot's new course record earned him an extra $1,500.00.
"I was expecting to win and set a new record," said Cheruiyot in broken English.
His confidence increased at the 13.1-mile mark, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
"I looked at my watch; I saw 67 minutes. I was feeling good." He said that the cold wind did not bother him.
At 24 and a half miles on the Kelly Drive, Cheruiyot and runner-up Jacob Chemtai grabbed the lead and were neck and neck until the last 500 yards; Cheruiyot outkicked Chemtai. Chemtai clocked 2:16:00 to receive the second place cash prize of $5,000.00.
This was not Cheruiyot's first time competing in Philadelphia. He finished second in the 2014 Philadelphia Half Marathon 1:04:04.
The first female marathon finisher, Taylor Ward, who posted 2:36:24, had never before been to Philadelphia.
"I wanted to run a late fall marathon," said Ward who lives in Alabama. "Training in the South in the summer can be rough."
Ward began her marathon training in late August.
"I chose Philly because some of my friends ran it, and I heard great things about the course," said Ward.
At the 20-mile mark in Manayunk, Ward's felt confident that she could win. Ward and runner-up Serkalem Abrha were ahead of the other women.
"I did not like the wind," said Abrha who finished second with a 2:37:52 clocking.
This year, the Philadelphia Half Marathon and Rothman Institute 8K took place the day before the marathon. In the past, the half marathon and marathon were both run on Sunday and the 8K on Saturday.
"We made those changes in order for all three races to grow," said Jim Marino, first year director of the Philadelphia Marathon.
He has also been the director of the Philadelphia Broad Street Run since the mid-1990s.
1 Kimutai Cheruiyot 2:15:53
2 Jacob Chemtai 2:16:00
3 Bado Merdessa 2:16:10
4 Wesley Langat 2:16:41
5 Julius Koskei 2:20:18
Christian Mercier 2:28:1
1. Taylor Ward 2:36:24
2. Serkalem Abrha 2:37:52
3. Vera Nunes 2:39:02
4. Madeline Duhon 2:40:28
5. Amanda Marino 2:43:30
Mary Akor Beasley 2:44:51
1. Tsegaye Getachew 1:03:54
Eric Shafer 1:17:31
1. Biruktayie Degefa 1:11:42
Marcie Heil 1:26:55
Rothman Institute 8K
Pat McCurry 26:13
Christy Peterson 30:43