The loaded men’s race promises to be a speedy affair on September 21.
As the site of five world records and five American records, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon race is positioned for another historic performance the weekend of September 19-21. Featuring one of the most decorated half-marathon fields in its 37-year history, the men’s competition promises to be one of the fastest races run on American soil this year.
Headlining the field will be two-time defending champion Stanley Biwott. If the 28-year-old Kenyan can win for the third consecutive year, he would join marathon legends Khalid Khannouchi (3), Joan Benoit Samulson (3) and Catherine Ndereba (8) as the only three-time champions in the race’s 37-year history.
“I’m excited to come back to Philadelphia and try to win a 3rd time in a row,” said Biwott. “I know the course really well and my training is going very good. With the great competition, I know there will be some very fast times.”
Biwott will also race at the upcoming TD Beach to Beacon 10K on Aug. 2, an event he won in 2012 en route to his first Philadelphia title. His winning time last year of 59:36 was the second fastest time in event history and fastest half-marathon run in the U.S. for 2013 on a record-standard course. He set his marathon personal best earlier this year, finishing second at the London Marathon with a time of 2:04:55, which is the third fastest marathon run in the world this year.
To make Philadelphia history, Biwott will face very formidable opposition from Kenyan star Geoffrey Mutai, the world’s fastest marathoner by way of his 2:03:02 clocking at the 2011 Boston Marathon. He is also a two-time winner and course-record holder at the TCS New York City Marathon and boasts a half-marathon personal best of 58:55. He’s won the Valencia Half Marathon, RAK Half Marathon and, most recently, the 2014 NYC Half Marathon in March.
The men’s field also includes two more sub-60 minute half-marathon runners: Cyprian Kotut and Bedan Karoki of Kenya. Kotut, 22, is Biwott’s training partner and finished second last year with a time of 59:59. Karoki, 23, was fifth in the 10,000m at the 2012 London Olympics and ran his half-marathon best of 59:58 at EDP Lisbon this year.
“Philadelphia has long been one of the world’s premier half-marathons and with the best athletes making their annual pilgrimage, this race could be the fastest in the U.S. this year and possibly challenge for one of the fastest all-time,” said Tracy Sundlun, SVP of Competitor Group, organizer of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “It also one of the world’s most beautiful half-marathon running a double loop through the historic downtown and then along the Schuylkill River to a finish in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And if one day of world-class running isn’t enough, this year we’ll have a second day of running with a special 5K taking place on Saturday.”
For the first time in 2014, race weekend in Philadelphia will include a two-day festival of running with a Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K event taking place on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. All finishers in each race will receive a medal and runners who participate in both Saturday and Sunday’s events will earn a special Remix Challenge medal to commemorate their accomplishment.
Both events will begin at 8 AM, starting and finishing at Eakins Oval directly in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The half-marathon course remains flat and fast, beginning on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, surrounded by stunning views of the city skyline, running through the historical Center City, past Independence Hall and along the scenic Schuylkill River. After crossing the finish line, runners will join family and friends to celebrate their accomplishment at the concert headlined by Rusted Root. To register for the event or for more information, please visit RunRocknRoll.com/Philadelphia.