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By Shannon Frost Greenstein

Race Weekend 2017 has come to Philadelphia, and the long-distance runner in YOUR life is probably preparing for the city’s biggest running event!  The AACR Philadelphia Marathon is this Sunday the 19th, while the half marathon and Rothman 8K are the day before.

Whether you’re a runner or a spectator, a participant or someone who supports one, this is SUCH an exciting race for Philadelphia.  It’s a beautiful course which winds through the city, the route taking the runners down Kelly Drive, though Manayunk, and ending up by the art museum…just like, ahem, how another famous run ended.  *Insert Rocky Fists here.*

As well as being an intense competitive event, drawing world-class athletes eager to get another major race notch on their belts, the weekend of the Philadelphia marathon is hugely charitable as well.  It’s sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, and runners can mitigate the cost of their registration by fundraising for donations to sponsor their run.

For volunteers and spectators, it’s just as exciting a weekend as it is for those competing.  Live progress alerts are available throughout the route, while spectators can use real-time GPS tracking to follow their favorite racer along the course.  The AACR is sponsoring the RaceJoy app at no cost to participants or supporters, which allows for tracking and also includes such extras as the “Send a Cheer” feature, allowing audio messages of support for runners.

If you’ve never caught a marathon before, you might be surprised at how much fun it is just to come out and watch the race.  Emotions are high, racers are near-manic with excitement as they near the end, and it’s impossible to keep yourself from cheering for the participants as they run (or hobble, depending at which mile you’ve camped out) by.  It’s an event that brings out the best of Philadelphia, as everyone comes together to celebrate the sport, the city, and the AACR, which devotes itself to promoting cancer research, education, communication, and collaboration between local world-renowned researchers.

Check out the official race website, including the route course, to see where the runners will be and when.  We guarantee it will be a great day for spectators, while the racers themselves will be truly indebted for your support.  Good luck to everyone competing this weekend in any of the races…may the odds be ever in your favor!

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