A guest post by Kristin who spent yesterday running through scenic Philadelphia.
Distance running isn't really a sport that lends itself to tailgating; Clif bars don't have the allure of, say, cheesesteaks. But what the crowd at yesterday's ING Philadelphia Distance Run lacked in body fat and tattoos, they made up for in Rocky-like spirit and the kind of blisters that can only be produced by hitting the pavement for 13.1 miles.
More than 15,000 runners looped through Center City and the Schuylkill trail, including a man in a cape, a man in a kilt and my personal favorite, an older gentlemen sporting a t-shirt that read "Still Jive at 75."
The race started at Eakins Oval and ended at the steps of the Art Museum, leading many finishers to temporarily abandon their exhaustion and sprint up the stairs, fists pumping. Even after logging 13.1 miles, that shit never gets old.
Breaking a tradition of Kenyan dominance, the Ethopian men nabbed the top three spots, with winner Yirefu Birhanu clocking in at 1:01:22. That's 13 consecutive sub-5 minute miles, fyi. Coming off a second place finish at the Olympic marathon in Beijing, Russian Liliya Shobukhova shut it down for the women with a time of 1:10:21, securing the $3,500 prize. I beat everyone in my office, securing homemade cranberry orange bread for the week.
Anyway. Here's a fun Phillies angle: 30 athletes ran with Team McGraw, an official race charity benefiting the foundation named after Phillies' legend Tug McGraw (whose name, suspiciously, sounds like it belongs to one of Sarah Palin's offspring). McGraw's former Phillies teammates Larry Christenson and Greg "The Bull" Luzinski kicked off the run with Team McGraw.
"I have a lot of respect for all the people of all ages out here competing," said Lusinski, owner of Bull's Barbecue at Citizens Bank Park. "Today's effort was a tremendous success and with his son Mike running a time of 1 hour and 28 minutes, no doubt Tug would have been proud."
If you happened to miss the race because you were, ahem, in Las Vegas or something, the Philadelphia Marathon is slated for November 23. 26.2 miles. Just sayin'.
[Ed. note: cheesesteaks aren't exactly tailgating food. Some sort of meat that you throw on an open flame is preferable.]
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