A new course is one of the many changes coming to the Philadelphia Marathon this year – and runners can finally see the new routes.
Race organizers have posted maps for the 2016 full and half marathons on the event's website.
The new route is similar to the course used in recent years. The biggest change comes in West Fairmount Park, where runners will now take the Avenue of the Republic to States Drive, run up States Drive to Belmont Avenue, then down Belmont to Lansdowne Drive. From Lansdowne, racers will run down the Black Road hill to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, just like the old course.
(Previously, the West Fairmount Park section of the course only went to the Please Touch Museum, before runners headed back to Black Road.)
The new course also eliminates a short out-and-back over the Falls Bridge that hit runners with a sharp turnaround on MLK Drive.
The rest of the 26.2 mile route, which starts and finishes on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, remains the same.
Now, runners will spend significantly less time in Center City, running only along the Parkway and then Arch to 6th Street, before looping back up Market Street and the Parkway toward Fairmount Park.
The half no longer includes the stretch in University City, but features more of Fairmount Park: Runners will now run north on Martin Luther King Drive, up the Lansdowne Road hill, then down Black Road before continuing north on MLK Drive to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. The new course takes runners up the bridge's ramp and through a short loop in West Fairmount Park, then over the bridge and through East Fairmount Park. The final stretch of the race is along the east side of the Schuylkill, with runners turning from Fountain Green Drive onto Kelly Drive, and continuing on to the finish at the Art Museum.
New courses are far from the only changes coming to this year's marathon. While both the half and full had traditionally been held on the same day, the half this year will take place Saturday, Nov. 19, with the full happening the next day, Sunday, Nov. 20.
Additionally, the Department of Parks and Recreation will partner with the Office of the City Representative to run the race. The event was previously organized solely by the Office of the City Representative. Jim Marino, the longtime director of the Broad Street Run, is now the marathon race director.
The race has also increased its prize money for winners.