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Philly half marathon gets a new course

The race will be run through city streets and along the Schuylkill instead of hilly Fairmount Park.

After receiving complaints from last year's participants, the half marathon that is run in conjunction with the Philadelphia Marathon in November will follow a different course this year.

The new route will start on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, wind through Old City and along the Delaware River waterfront before looping back through Rittenhouse Square, across the Schuylkill and along Boat House Row before finishing at the Art Museum.

The race, scheduled for Nov.18, will take runners past national landmarks such as the Liberty Bell and will be the first race, organizers said, to run directly in front of Independence Hall.

The changes to the course were made after runners voiced concerns with last year's half marathon course, which was centered in west Fairmount Park. The course was hilly, they said, making the race challenging for runners and producing slow times.

"We wanted to enhance the runners' experience," said race director Jim Marino. "My main goal is to make them happy and help them. We heard a lot of feedback from the runners, and we went into this year wanting to accommodate that."

The new route includes few hills and allows for locals to watch the race. It will also feature a variety of historic sites in contrast to last year's race, which Marino said became monotonous for runners.

With this downtown focus, he said the new course will likely bring faster times and a more exciting environment.

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