Save the (Race) Date: Your Annual Calendar for Philly’s Best Races

Every runner’s worst nightmare: the race filling up too fast. (Remember Broad Street?) Here’s an annual guide to the region’s best races, so you can plan ahead and never miss another start time.

Runners at the Gary Papa 5K in June

PSCI Icicle Run 10 miler
Automatic bragging rights go to finishers of this Wilmington race, where you can expect below-freezing temps and a hilly course. Count on the fun atmosphere and free beers after the race to get you through the final stretch.

Feel the Love 5K
The couple that runs together stays together, right? Grab a partner for this Valentine’s race.

Northeast Road Runners Club Winter 10K
This no-frills race features an out-and-back course along Kelly Drive. It’s the perfect test to see how your winter training has served you. Getting off the dreaded treadmill and outdoors isn’t bad, either.

Tyler 10K Trail Run
It’s time to get dirty. The course in Tyler Arboretum will have you scampering over hills and sloshing through creek crossings. Warning: This race is a sure sell-out, so plan ahead.

Broad Street Run
If it feels as though everybody’s running Broad Street, that’s because everybody is—40,000 people took part last spring. Winner of our online reader poll for Best Local Race, Broad Street’s flat and slightly downhill course makes it an easy crowd-pleaser—and one of the fastest 10-milers in the country.

Gary Papa 5K
This out-and-back 5K from the Art Museum is named for 6 ABC sportscaster Gary Papa, who lost his battle with prostate cancer in 2009. Fittingly, race proceeds benefit Philly-based Prostate Health International.

Midnight Madness Run
Night owls, this one’s for you: Philly’s only glow-in-the-dark race, around the 8.4-mile Schuylkill River running loop—at midnight. Prizes go to the most illuminated runners, so start stocking up on glow sticks. All proceeds go to Back on My Feet, which promotes self-sufficiency for the city’s homeless by introducing them to running.

Livestrong Challenge 5K/10K
The course at Montco Community College features minimal hills, making it ideal for anyone looking to set a personal record. Can’t make the race? Run virtually and raise money for Livestrong’s cancer cause—and get the free t-shirt and water bottle.

Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon
Tune up for November’s full marathon by conquering this 13.1-miler with great entertainment. No need for that iPod—you’ll be greeted by local bands and cheer squads along every mile of the course. A headliner concert follows the race.

Penn Medicine Radnor Run
Challenge yourself with five miles of rolling Radnor hills on a crisp fall Sunday. Just plan to wear a costume: The near-Halloween date means you’ll see some fun ones.

Philadelphia Marathon
Consider this the crowning achievement of your race year. And why not? Our marathon is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the U.S. for its flat urban course, perfect for beginners and seasoned runners alike.

Brian’s Run
Recently named one of Runner’s World’s top 100 races in the country, this challenging 10K in West Chester attracts everyone from locals to international competition. Proceeds support Homes for Our Troops, a group that makes housing handicap-accessible for wounded veterans.

>> This article first appeared in the 2012 Be Well Philly print magazine. To order a free copy, go here.