Runners flock to 3,000 openings in Philly race after NYC cancellation

It’s a good day for some very dedicated athletes. The Philadelphia Marathon notified runners Friday who’d planned to race in New York’s Marathon that they’ll get to run a marathon this year after all.  After the Big Apple’s cancellation, Philadelphia opened 3,000 slots and invited displaced marathoners to apply. 

Philadelphia City Representative Melanie Johnson said the runners were notified by email that they’ll get to run in Philadelphia Nov. 18.

“Everybody who applied was accepted.  About 1,460 applied,” Johnson said. “In our discussions, and at the time that we were announcing that we were opening up the 3,000 spots, we did not expect to get all 3,000 runners.”

Johnson said a lot of runners who originally planned to do the New York City Marathon ran elsewhere or intend to wait and run in New York next year.  Of the $200 the new runners are paying to compete in Philadelphia,  Johnson says half the money is going to offset costs.

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“I need to get shirts for these runners, I need additional water for these runners, I need additional food for these runners,” she said. “And I also need to probably supply shuttle buses.  We weren’t looking to make money off of this — we were trying to offer the displaced runners the opportunity to run a race.  Twenty minutes after the race was canceled, we were inundated with requests.”

Runner’s World’s Bart Yasso admitted that for runners this is not a cheap endeavor.

“The entry fee for New York is in the $250 range and then Philly’s $200.  They’ve invested a lot of money.  And the entry fee is one of the easier expenses of the weekend,” Yasso said. “It’s the hotel and the travel, the months of training that they put in.  But they want to do this.  This is their lifestyle.  So they’re not going to look at the money they spent.”

Half the fee the former New York Marathon runners pay to race in Philadelphia will go to the Red Cross.  Yasso said for many of the runners that contribution is important.

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