After taking last year off due to the coronavirus pandemic, Philadelphia Marathon Weekend returns for the 27th time this weekend, and it’s bringing runners from all over to race through the city’s streets in several events that will take place through Sunday afternoon.

Since 1994, the Philadelphia Marathon has grown to become one of the top marathons in the country, and its events attract about 30,000 runners each year (about 24,000 this year due to COVID-19-related caps), so expect the city to be a little more packed for the next few days. While the namesake marathon itself doesn’t take place until Sunday, other races and events are held throughout the weekend, starting Friday.

And weather-wise, it’s shaping up to be a good weekend for participating athletes, thanks to forecasted dry weather — though it may be a bit cold for spectators due to expected December-like temperatures.

Here is everything you need to know, from start times and security to road closures and SEPTA detours. Happy marathoning, Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Marathon events

Philadelphia Marathon Weekend runs Friday, Nov. 19, to Sunday, Nov. 21.

Health and Fitness Expo

The event begins with a free, two-day Health and Fitness Expo at the Convention Center starting Friday — but this year, the expo is open to runners only. From there, the action moves to the starting line for the three main races at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Dietz & Watson Half Marathon

The Dietz & Watson Half Marathon kicks off the races Saturday, starting at 6:55 a.m. for wheelchairs and handcycles, 7 a.m. for runners and walkers.

Rothman Orthopaedics 8K

Also Saturday, the Rothman Orthopaedics 8K will begin at 10:55 a.m. for wheelchairs and handcycles, 11 a.m. for runners and walkers. The Dunkin’ Munchkin Kids Fun Run, meanwhile, has been canceled for 2021 due to COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

AACR Philadelphia Marathon

On Sunday, the AACR Philadelphia Marathon begins at 6:55 a.m. for wheelchairs and handcycles and 7 a.m. for runners and walkers.

2021 marathon route

At the standard 26.2-mile marathon length, the Philadelphia Marathon will take runners through locations across much of the city. Starting on the Parkway, the course winds through a number of Philadelphia neighborhoods, including University City, Old City, and Manayunk before wrapping up back near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Organizers tout engaging, scenic views for runners along the course’s mostly flat terrain.

The course is slightly different this year due to construction on the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive bridge, and will cross to the Reservoir Drive side of Fairmount Park over the Girard Street Bridge instead of crossing in front of the Art Museum’s landmark steps. More course route information is available via the official marathon website.

Security

The start and finish area between 22nd and 25th Streets on the Parkway is a secure zone, so everyone entering will need to be screened by security staff. Additionally, organizers note online, the runners’ start/finish line area will be open to runners only, and spectators will not be permitted in that zone. In total, there are five security entrances, all of which open at 5 a.m. each day of the race weekend:

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  • 22nd St. and Benjamin Franklin Parkway (north and south sides)

  • 24th St. and Park Towne Place

  • 25th St. and Kelly Drive

  • 23rd St. and Pennsylvania Avenue

  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Drive ramp (inbound) at Eakins Oval

Prohibited items include weapons like firearms, knives, and pepper spray, as well as fireworks, illegal drugs, and alcohol. Suitcases, packages larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches, and containers able to hold more than one liter of liquid are also prohibited, as are drones, costume masks (aside from religious headwear), selfie sticks, and bicycles or scooters. Dogs and cats are allowed, but other animals (such as reptiles) will not be permitted.

COVID-19 policies

In-person runners for all Philadelphia Marathon Weekend events must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before the race weekend.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test will not be accepted.

Runners need to prove their vaccination status before they pick up their bibs at the Philadelphia Marathon Expo on Friday or Saturday, and can do so with a digital copy, photocopy, or photo of their vaccine card, or with the original card itself. The expo is open only to runners, and everyone — including staff and volunteers — must wear a face mask when attending.

Runners will need to wear face masks in the secure areas near the start and finish line but not while running. Participants can remove their face masks once they are inside the runner corrals. All other staff and volunteers while in or near the start/finish area will need to be masked.

Spectators watching the race along the course, meanwhile, are strongly encouraged to wear masks.

» READ MORE: Sports psychologist’s 4 tips to mentally prepare for Philly Marathon.

Road closures

Road closures and parking restrictions in the Parkway area and along the race route begin on a rolling basis Friday and will continue throughout the weekend, so motorists and pedestrians should anticipate delays and plan to use alternate routes.

Police will allow traffic through intersections on the race route as timing allows, and closures will be lifted as runners pass through and the roads are cleared.

Friday road closures

  • Inner lanes on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (both directions) will be closed on Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 2:45 p.m.

  • Lanes will reopen for the afternoon rush hour, but inbound inner lanes will remain closed from Binswanger Triangle to 22nd Street.

» READ MORE: How to avoid hitting 'The Wall' at Philadelphia Marathon

Saturday road closures

Saturday closures for the Dietz & Watson Half Marathon and Rothman Orthopaedics 8K will last from 2 a.m. to 3 p.m. along the Parkway between 20th and 25th Streets, as well as on Kelly Drive and other roads around Center City.

The area around 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, as well as Logan Circle, will be closed to vehicles until about 11:30 a.m., while many other streets will reopen by around 2 p.m. Eakins Oval will be open by 5 p.m. on Saturday, while the inner inbound drive of the Parkway from Binswanger Triangle to 22nd will remain closed until Sunday at 5 p.m.

Vehicles that remain on the race routes will be relocated starting at 2 a.m.

Roads scheduled to be closed on Saturday include:

Starting at 2 a.m

  • 2000-2400 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

  • Spring Garden Street, from Pennsylvania Avenue to Benjamin Franklin Parkway

  • 23rd Street, from Pennsylvania Avenue to Benjamin Franklin Parkway

  • 22nd Street, from Winter Street to Park Towne Place (local access to Park Towne Place)

  • 21st Street, from Pennsylvania Avenue to Winter Street

Starting at 4 a.m.

  • I-676 off-ramp at 22nd Street (westbound)

  • I-76 off-ramp at Spring Garden (eastbound)

Starting at 6 a.m.

  • 17th Street, from Arch Street to Vine Street

  • 18th Street, from Arch Street to Callowhill Street

  • 19th Street, from Arch Street to Callowhill Street

  • 20th Street, from Arch Street to Callowhill Street

  • 21st Street, from Arch Street to Spring Garden Street

  • 22nd Street, from Arch Street to Spring Garden Street

  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from 16th Street to 20th Street

  • Market Street, from 6th Street to 16th Street

  • Chestnut Street, from 5th Street to 8th Street

  • 6th Street, from Market Street to Chestnut Street

  • 5th Street, from Chestnut Street to Race Street

  • South Penn Square

  • Juniper Street, from Chestnut Street to Market Street

  • John F. Kennedy Boulevard, from Juniper Street to 17th Street

  • 15th Street, from Race Street to Chestnut Street

  • 16th Street, from Chestnut Street to Race Street

  • Race Street, from 6th Street to Columbus Boulevard

  • Columbus Boulevard (southbound lanes), from Vine Street to Washington Avenue

  • Southbound off-ramp, from I-95 at Washington Avenue

  • Washington Avenue, from Columbus Boulevard to Front Street

  • Front Street, from Washington Avenue to South Street

  • South Street, from Front Street to 7th Street

  • 6th Street, from Bainbridge Street to Locust Street

  • Lombard Street, from 5th Street to Broad Street

  • 13th Street, from Bainbridge Street to Chestnut Street

  • Walnut Street, from 12th Street to 34th Street

  • 33rd Street, from Walnut Street to Spring Garden Street

  • 34th Street, from Spring Garden Street to Girard Avenue

  • Spring Garden Street, from 32nd Street to 34th Street

  • Girard Avenue, 33rd Street to 38th Street

  • 33rd Street, from Girard Avenue to Cecil B. Moore Avenue

  • Reservoir Drive, from 33rd Street to Diamond Drive

  • Mt. Pleasant Drive

  • Fountain Green Drive

  • Kelly Drive

» READ MORE: Runners must be vaccinated for Philly Marathon, organizers say.

Sunday road closures

For the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, the Parkway will be closed to vehicles from 2 a.m. to 5 p.m., while other streets along the race route are scheduled to reopen by 2 p.m. All closed streets, including Eakins Oval and the Parkway, will reopen by 5 p.m. Sunday. Like on Saturday, vehicles that remain on the race route on Sunday will start being relocated at 2 a.m.

Roads scheduled to be closed on Sunday will include:

Starting at 2 a.m.

  • 2000-2400 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

  • Spring Garden Street, from Pennsylvania Avenue to Benjamin Franklin Parkway

  • 23rd Street, from Pennsylvania Avenue to Benjamin Franklin Parkway

  • 22nd Street, from Winter Street to Park Towne Place (Local Access to Park Towne Place)

  • 21st Street, from Pennsylvania Avenue to Winter Street

Starting at 4 a.m.

  • I-676 off-ramp at 22nd Street (westbound)

  • I-76 off-ramp at Spring Garden (eastbound)

Starting at 6 a.m.

  • 17th Street, from Arch Street to Vine Street

  • 18th Street, from Arch Street to Callowhill Street

  • 19th Street, from Arch Street to Callowhill Street

  • 20th Street, from Arch Street to Callowhill Street

  • 21st Street, from Arch Street to Spring Garden Street

  • 22nd Street, from Arch Street to Spring Garden Street

  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from 16th Street to 20th Street

  • Arch Street, between 3rd Street and 16th Street

  • 4th Street, between Arch Street and Vine Streets

  • Race Street, from 6th Street to Columbus Boulevard

  • Columbus Boulevard (southbound lanes), from Vine Street to Washington Avenue

  • Southbound off-ramp, from I-95 at Washington Avenue

  • Washington Avenue, from Columbus Boulevard to Front Street

  • Front Street, from Washington Avenue to South Street

  • South Street, from Front Street to 7th Street

  • 6th Street, from Bainbridge Street to Market Street

  • Chestnut Street, from 6th Street to 10th Street

  • Walnut Street, from 6th Street to 34th Street

  • 33rd Street, from Walnut Street to Chestnut Street

  • Chestnut Street, from 33rd Street to 34th Street

  • 34th Street, from Chestnut Street to Girard Avenue

  • Lansdowne Drive, from Girard Avenue to South Concourse Drive

  • South Concourse Drive, from Lansdowne to West Memorial Hall Drive

  • East Memorial Hall Drive, from South Concourse to Avenue of the Republic

  • Avenue of the Republic, from East Memorial Hall Drive to Catholic Fountain

  • Belmont Avenue, Montgomery to Parkside Avenue

  • States Drive to Lansdowne Drive

  • Lansdowne Drive to Girard Avenue

  • Girard Avenue Bridge, from Lansdowne Drive to 33rd Street

  • 33rd Street, from Girard Avenue to Reservoir Drive

  • Reservoir Drive, from 33rd Street to Edgley Drive

  • Edgley Drive, from Reservoir Drive to Fountain Green Drive

  • Fountain Green Drive, from Edgley Drive to Kelly Drive

  • Kelly Drive

  • The Falls Bridge

  • Ridge Avenue, from Schoolhouse Lane to Manayunk Avenue

  • Main Street, from Ridge Avenue to Conarroe Street

SEPTA disruptions

A number of SEPTA bus routes in the city will be affected by marathon events throughout the weekend.

Up-to-date information can be found on SEPTA’s website, or via TransitView on the SEPTA app. City officials advise SEPTA riders to check the System Status website regularly and follow @SEPTA and @SEPTA_BUS on Twitter for updates. Additionally, you can sign up for free text alerts about transit and other details by texting RUNPHL to 888-777.

Detours for most routes start at 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and some buses will run on different routes for the Dietz & Watson Half Marathon and the AACR Philadelphia Marathon.

Routes that will be affected by detours include:

  • K, R, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 16, 17, 21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 38, 40, 42, 43, 47, 47M, 48, 57, 61, 64, 65, 124/125, and Trolley Route 15

Temporary detours will be in place for routes 7, 32, 33, 38, 43, 38, and 49 in order for organizers to complete event setup between Eakins Oval and 20th Street on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Regional Rail service faces fewer service interruptions, and you can take trains to either Suburban Station or 30th Street Station to get to the races’ start and finish lines. But as with the routes listed above, it’s a good idea to check SEPTA’s website for up-to-date service information.

Where to watch the marathon

Unlike previous years, the 2021 Philadelphia Marathon Weekend will not feature official “Cheer Zones.” You can still come out and cheer on runners along the courses’ sidelines — but you are strongly encouraged to wear a mask to help keep everyone safe, organizers said. To stake out your spot, be sure to check the various course routes via the event’s website before you head out.

Prize money

In total, this organizers will award about $32,000 in prize money to winners, with up to $1,500 in bonuses for course records. All finishers, meanwhile, will receive a certificate, medal, and commemorative shirt.

The breakdown is as follows:

AACR Philadelphia Marathon

  • 1st place: $10,000

  • 2nd place: $5,000

  • 3rd place: $2,500

  • 4th place: $1,500

  • 5th place: $1,000

  • 1st place master: $1,000

  • 1st place wheelchair: $1,000

  • 1st Philadelphian male: $1,000

  • 1st Philadelphian female: $1,000

  • Course record bonus: $1,500

» READ MORE: At age 70, the ‘Ultrageezer’ broke three hours in the marathon. His secret? ‘Just run!’

Dietz & Watson Half Marathon

  • 1st place: $2,500

  • 2nd place: $1,000

  • 3rd place: $500

  • 4th place: $250

  • 5th place: $100

  • 1st place master: $500

  • 1st place wheelchair: $500

  • Course record bonus: $1,000

Rothman Orthopaedics 8K

  • 1st place: $1,000

  • 2nd place: $500

  • 3rd place: $250

  • 4th place: $150

  • 5th place: $100

  • 1st place master: $250

  • 1st place wheelchair: $250

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