The Philadelphia Marathon, as seen in Northwest Philly [gallery]

More than 30,000 runners took to city streets on Sunday morning for the annual Philadelphia Marathon. The course took participants from the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum to City Hall, down to Old City, along the Schuylkill River, up to Manayunk and back to Center City.

Coming in first place was Dan Vassallo of Massachusetts with an unoffical time of 2:17:28. Vassallo says Philadelphia is the “best sports town” in America. It was his second time winning the Philadelphia Marathon. His first win in the City of Brotherly Love was in 2010. 

Leonara Patrina of New York was the first woman to cross the finish line at an unofficial time of 2:39:58. It Patrina’s first time running the Philadelphia Marathon. 

In addition to the full marathon of 26.2 miles, Sunday consisted of a half marathon, an 8K and a Kids Fun Run. 

The view from Laurel Hill Cemetery

At 9:30 a.m., the race leaders had already passed beneath the Laurel Cemetery bluffs on their way back to Center City nearly an hour before, but the largest pace groups just started to approach from the east.

A beautiful late fall morning on Kelly Drive continued to brighten as the sun finally crept up from behind the cemetery’s highest points.

“You got this! You got this! Don’t you know you got this?” shouted a volunteer from the Schuylkill River Trail, offering words of encouragement to the runners. “Come on, come on, this is fun! Tell me you’re having fun!”

Cries of affirmation rose up from the Drive as individual runners confirmed that it is, indeed, fun to run 26.2 miles on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Otherwise, the race unfolded in near silence some 20 feet below, the steady slap of feet striking pavement punctuated the syncopated movements of hundreds of bodies struggling to reach the same finish line.

Suddenly, cheers from a group of police and volunteers erupted as a large pace group moved past Hunting Park Avenue.

“Keep it up! You’re doing great! You’re all doing great! The next water station is just ahead!” another volunteer shouted. “Pace group, spread out! Make room! You’re gonna want room to grab your water!” (Dan Pasquarello/for NewsWorks)

The view from Manayunk

Main Street was fairly empty when the elite males approached the 20-mile mark. By 9 a.m., as the female leaders appeared, a crowd had started to gather between Cotton and Carson, and reggae soul group “Weez the Peeples” had roused the initially quiet crowd.

Michael Wax from Narberth watched the leaders from the sidewalk in front of Starbucks.

As they passed with relaxed gaits on a sub-6-minute pace, he chuckled.

“You know, it’s funny,” he said. “When you’re standing here, they don’t look that fast.”

Spectator signs teased tired runners with encouraging jokes, including “Worst Parade Ever,” “Touch Here for Power,” “Run Faster,” and “Hurry Up Franny Pants We Have Beer.”

Corey and Ari Pontz from Bala Cynwyd spent an hour waiting with four elementary-school aged children before they saw and cheered friends on the course.

When asked about the key to managing hyper kids in the chilly air, Ari smiled: “Chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate.” (Carrie Hagen/for NewsWorks)

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