Registration for the Philadelphia Distance Run Opens Monday

The half marathon and 5K is currently set to be open to 4,500 participants — which means you’ll have to move, ahem, fast to snag a spot.

philadelphia distance run

The Philadelphia Distance Run was a famed Philadelphia half-marathon in the ’80s and ’90s. | Photograph courtesy of the Philadelphia Distance Run

In February, we told you the beloved Philadelphia Distance Run — a half marathon that was hosted in Philly from 1978 to 2009 — would be returning this coming fall, on Sunday, September 19th. While race organizers initially said registration would open in early March, we’re excited to announce that sign-ups will officially begin on Monday, April 19th.

The very home-grown event — originated by runner Gene Martenson, who “wished to showcase the beauty of Philadelphia through a first-class foot race that Philadelphia area runners could be proud of” — was transformed in 2009 when the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series leased the rights from the board of six stakeholders who own the race. But this year, it’s returning to its roots — with a big focus on creating an inclusive and accessible experience — under the collaborative guidance of Students Run Philly Style (the nonprofit that’s also the race beneficiary), Philly Run Fest, Runhouse, the Philly 10K and Philadelphia Runner.

Registration for the 5K and USATF-certified half marathon events opens Monday at 10 a.m. The half marathon registration is $101, and the 5K is $35 to run. (Both will also have an administrative fee.) But given that these are COVID times, there are some additional guidelines to note. First of all, should the race be canceled or rescheduled due to the pandemic, anyone who registers by June 14th will get a refund or be eligible to defer the bib to the following year. (Registrants after that date can defer, but no refund will be offered.)

Secondly, there are a number of COVID protocols the race organizers will be enforcing, including masking at the start and finish lines and measures taken to avoid crowding around restrooms and water stations. Finally, the race will also be offering virtual versions of the races: You still get the t-shirt and medal and race-day app, but you can run the 13.1 or 3.1-mile distances from anywhere.

While the course map is yet to be announced, we know the half marathon will run through Center City and around the Art Museum and Fairmount Park, while the 5K will be set around the Art Museum and Fairmount Park. More info about the race-day plan and COVID-19 safety measures can be found on the Philadelphia Distance Run website.