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  • Jadan Willis

Philly Half Marathon 2021

From 6 miles being my longest run toooo 13.1 miles.

For a little bit of context, my running history is as follows: my best friend's aunt, Gertie, is the one who got me into running during my freshman year (ish) of high school! We would do pretty short runs and some speed workouts. Then I started doing runs on my own. We ran a 5K (3.1 miles) in 2016 and that was alright. I was not very fast, lol.

My sophomore year is when Dana convinced me to do track!

April 2018, at a chilly track meet with Dana

We ran "long distance," which translates to a half-mile event, 1-mile, or at the most, 2 miles. I stuck with the mile and did track my junior year as well.

And I kept running on my own after track was over. Extended my long runs to 4 miles, the occasional 5 miles, and *two* 6-mile runs. Total.

This summer, I reached out to Gertie to go on runs together, just for the fun of it. Then she asked if I wanted to do the Philly Half and... here we are. We added about a mile a week and that made it doable! 90% road runs (which if you're from the Southern End, you know how hilly it is, lol) and a few Enola Trail runs, which were nice and flat.

We got a hotel room for Friday into Saturday and picked up our bibs Friday night. That was my first race expo experience; we went through some lines and then you were able to peruse a variety of running gear. I have recently learned that there are "running socks," so I found a pack of 3 pairs for $10 and got those. And even wore a pair for the race! Nice and soft.

Then we went back to the hotel and got up bright and early so we could walk to the starting point.

Philadelphia PA, Philly, Philly PA

6:27AM, about 34 degrees

There was an absurdly long line waiting for us to get into the "secured area." Needless to say, the race did not start at the proposed time of 7AM, lol.

We made conversation in line, went through the bag check, found our corral (based on your estimated finish time), and the race began around 7:30!

I listened to two podcast episodes for the duration of the race and the first several miles went by pretty fast.

It was fun seeing all the signs and having bystanders cheer you on. Some signs of note:

  • "Run this jawn"

  • "May the course be in your favor," held by a man in a Darth Vader costume

  • "Y'all good?"

  • "What? Like it's hard? Go Penn Law!"

  • "Run like Gritty's behind you"

  • "If you pass out, I'll stop your Garmin"

  • "You look hot"

  • "On a scale of 1-10, you're a 13.1"

Philly Half Marathon, Philly Marathon Weekend, Philly Half Marathon 2021

It was so bizarre running through red lights too! But anyways, around mile 9 or 10 is when it started to drag, lol. I did not walk though! Just slowed my pace down a little bit and was ready to finish.

The bridge was painted with cool designs on both sides!

What was frustrating is that my watch ended up being ahead .3 miles by the end. So I was waiting and waiting for the end, and would have liked to really sprint the last bit, but I couldn't see the finish line until it was extremely close, sadly.

I was hoping to run it under 2 hours, but my time was 2 hours and 6 minutes. The lack of sleep certainly did not help, lol.

Philly Half Marathon, Philly Marathon Weekend, Philly Half Marathon 2021

The medal even rings, so you could just hear the ringing bells while walking around.

Once you finished, you grabbed your medal, some snacks, and were free to go. We got our bags, took some photos, walked back to the hotel, showered, packed, and left! And that's about it.

Will I do it again? Maybe. We'll see. Could I do a full marathon? Ehhhh... Never say never, but no promises.

Gertie and I

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