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Tens of thousands of people descended on Center City, Philadelphia on Sunday for the 30th running of the AACR Philadelphia Marathon.
In 1994, the first race saw a little more than 1,500 people participate. Over the weekend, a record-breaking 34,000 athletes from all backgrounds participated in the full and half marathons, as well as an 8K and a children’s race.
Regina Sellman ran the full marathon Sunday in memory of her mother, who passed away after battling triple-negative breast cancer.
“My mom was pretty incredible,” Sellman said. “She got sick when I first was in high school when she was 50, and then again when she was 60. She worked as long as she possibly could. She would literally go to work in her wheelchair and only stopped working when the doctors told her to take a break and enjoy the time she had left. With that, there’s just no reason I can’t finish the marathon.”
Sellman said running in Philadelphia meant even more knowing who she was doing it for.
“My mom grew up in Philly, so this is her city,” Sellman said. “So I just want to soak it in for her. I just want to finish and conquer something I haven’t done before.”
Noah Halloran traveled from Kentucky to Philly for the big race, which he finished in less than three hours. He said the race is more of a “mental game” than a physical one.
“About halfway through the race, the adrenaline was gone, and then you really start having to work, and then when you hit mile 18, [from there] it’s all mental willpower.”
Halloran said the City of Brotherly Love trip was worth it.
“The weather is amazing, the fans are great,” he said. “The people who are cheering you on and handing out waters [are] just phenomenal.”
Aidan Lawlor moved from Ireland to Philadelphia five years ago. After completing the half marathon last year, he signed up for the full marathon the very next day. How did he feel after Sunday’s race?
“Dead, just dead,” Lawlor said.
For anyone who wants to try out running in the future, Lawlor said it’s best to start slow.
“Just go slow,” Lawlor said. “A little bit by little bit and you get there.”
Benard Kiptoo Koech of Eldoret, Kenya, finished as the fastest runner overall with a time of 2:14:26, just shy of the 2:13:28 record set back in 2021 by fellow Kenyan Mike Chesire. Mercy Jerop Kwambai, also of Eldoret, finished as the top woman runner with a time of 2:30:53. Koech and Kwambai each earned $10,000.
In the non-binary category, Kassian Eaton of Somerville, Massachusetts, crossed the finish line first with a time of 2:35:38, earning them a $1,000 prize.