A Thank You Letter

Dear volunteers, spectators, fellow runners and race organizers: You “Rocked” it.

This is a big thank you letter to everyone who supported the ING Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon on September 19th; Thank you for all you did to make this event a success and energize the city.

A huge thank you to the supporters along the course! With crowds lined throughout Center City cheering, clapping and giving out high-fives, it was hard not to feel the tangible energy.

The excitement brewed from the start as runners curved around City Hall to the beat of the band rocking out.

“Heck of a day to quit smoking!” One guy yelled as runners swarmed past him around mile three. He wasn’t the only comedian along the trail. Mile after mile, onlookers yelled their support as they snapped photos, cheered and yelled, “You can do it!” Or, “Lookin’ good!” or fill-in-the-blank-motivational-phrase here.

“You were a winner with your 1st step,” Read one poster. It made me smile. A lot. Props to that supporter, whoever he is!

Thank you to the hundreds of spectators lining Benjamin Franklin Parkway shaking cow bells. Thank you to the bands playing throughout the race, keeping everyone pumped up. The “Rock ‘n Roll” idea of passing multiple bands throughout the course is something well-planned that mixed up what – during training – can be a monotonous experience. It gives the race some personality!

Thank you to the cop at the Falls Bridge who high-fived me. Thank you to the “free high-five” groups and the people cheering at random strangers (like me!).

“If it was easy, everyone would do it!” Read a sign at mile 12.8 when I had nothing left and each step felt like ten. This made me smile. It gave me the push I needed.

Before race day, I thought I’d run the whole thing asking myself, “Am I crazy? Why am I doing this?” but that wasn’t the case at all. Each step was exciting. The spectators made it that way. The bands definitely charged everyone up and even runners yelled motivations at each other along the way.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen? Passed it blaring on several different speakers along the course. It wouldn’t be a race without it! I don’t care that every 5K and 5 Mile race I’ve been in prior to my half was sprinkled with the Boss’s Born to Run – it always serves as a corny inspiration. I did wonder though, if states outside of the New Jersey area have as strong of a love for Born to Run during races, and my conclusion was – they must.

These are the things that I thought about when on mile seven and already heard it too many times to count, in case you were wondering. Another thing I thought of around mile seven was how phenomenal the running community is overall. Everyone is out to encourage and support each other. Maybe I’m still new to the sport and naïve, but it always feels like runners want each other to beat themselves and hit their own “Personal Bests”, not beat each other.

During the race, I felt like I was on the same team with everyone running. We were all going through this experience together, all encouraging each other. The spectators were supporting everybody, not just the person they knew. It made you feel like you were part of something more universal, not your typical sports rivalry.

So again, thank you to everyone who contributed to that experience.

‘Cause tramps like us, baby, we were born to run.

With Love,


About the13thmile

I am proud to now say I am a half-marathon runner! Three half-marathons qualify for that status, I think. I blog about about running, nutrition and sometimes some other stuff. I share my research, tips and experiences with you, and am inspired by the supportive running community! I enjoy connecting with other runners, and hearing about other people's running experiences. Feel free to reach out if you have ran marathons or half marathons in the past!
This entry was posted in Half Marathon, Race Day, Rock 'n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A Thank You Letter

  1. Dave says:

    Congrats 13th! A half is a long way to go. Just for the record, The Boss, especially “Born to Run” is on my running playlist in Texas.

  2. Christina says:

    The band playing the theme song to Rocky at the end of Falls Bridge was such a great push! Way to pump us up for the second half!

    Congrats again! 🙂

  3. Caleb says:

    Congrats on the awesome achievement. I love the encouragement I get from spectators too. My favorite is probably little kids reaching out for high (or rather low) fives! 🙂

  4. tasha says:

    loved reading about your first half! i had many of the same experiences on my first half. i then hade the post race dip and took a few MONTHS off!!! (stupid, stupid, stupid, lol). i’m back in training for another half in december and i can’t wait. awesome job on your first. can’t wait to read about your next one! happy running!!

  5. Raydene says:

    Hi! Huge congrats on your half-marathon!! 🙂
    I recently started following you on Twitter, and thought I’d check out your blog!
    I am in my first week of training for my first half. So far so good. I can relate a lot to you, on the not running more than a 10K in my entire life. I am in South Korea teaching and have continued my running since being here. Ran a 10K on Oct 24 and will now be running a half in February (registration has not opened yet, so no exact date yet.)
    I was wondering, is there a certain training schedule you followed? I found one online and it does not have a day of running the full 13 miles. Should I adjust some of the training? Trying to get feedback on if I need to modify my training.

    • the13thmile says:

      Hi Raydene – Thanks so much for the follow and well-wishes. As far as a training schedule, I will say that every runner is different. You are right that most (if not all?) of the official plans do not include a 13-mile run as part of the pre-race training. As you might be able to tell from my blog, I am not your typical runner and I have difficulty following a set plan. So what worked best for me was to keep pushing as hard as I could each run. I also wanted to know that I could reach 13 miles in the big race, so I made sure that I had several of those runs under my belt before the first day just to calm my own nerves and squash any doubt that I wouldn’t be able to run that far. I also had 15 weeks to prepare. My advice is to listen to your body and do what works best for you. If you can run a 10K, you probably will be fine sneaking in a few 13-mile runs! Just be careful to avoid injury and not to run too far and you will be fine. Let me know if you have other questions and good luck!

      • Raydene says:

        Hi! Thanks for the advice. I am pretty athletic, so I think I can handle a few (or at least one) 13 mile run before the official race day. Thanks again 🙂

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