As an avid runner, I have run a bunch of races in Philadelphia and each one has its charm, though the race I look forward to each year is the Philly 10k. For me, 6.2 miles is a fun, approachable distance where I can relax into a comfortable pace and just enjoy. I train, but training is not as time consuming as it would be for say, a half marathon and it does not stray too drastically from my typical weekly exercise routine. However, it is not the distance and convenience of the race that makes the Philly 10k my favorite race in Philadelphia; but rather the neighborhood.
I moved to Philadelphia to begin my doctorate program for Physical Therapy at Drexel University in 2011. I lived in Fairmount near the Art Museum for my first year of graduate school and then moved to Chinatown to be closer to my classes and lab facilities at Drexel’s center city campus. I didn’t pick up and move south of South Street until my final year in Physical Therapy school. By then, I had mastered the Septa bus and Broad Street line subway system to access center city as needed. I also knew which roads were accessible by bicycle and which had treacherous trolley tracks which would surely flip me over my handlebars. I discovered the excitement and culture of the Italian Market and all of the delicious restaurants, cafes, and bakeries that South Philly had to offer. I did not stay put at one residence, but I did not stray from the neighborhood of Queen Village/Bella Vista/Italian Market. I have grown a lot professionally and personally since first moving to South Philly and despite all of my apartment and row home hopping since moving here, I can genuinely say that South Philadelphia is my home.
Which brings me back to the Philly 10k. The route for this race is literally a run down memory lane, taking me right past all of the apartments that I lived in and all of my most commonly visited places in Philly over the last 6 years. The start line is at 8th and South Street, just 2 blocks from the Whole Foods where I buy groceries. From there it heads as far south as Snyder Ave, passing my local gym, and up Passyunk Ave where I would meet colleagues and friends for happy hour after work. From there I ran west along Washington Ave, past some of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants where I frequently fill up on warm Pho on cold, wintery nights. I then ran up 13th Street past the apartment I lived in when I found out that I passed my Physical Therapy licensure exam and could not help, but smile about how far I have come as a clinician. From there, I ran as far north as Chestnut Street and then back down to Christian Street. I ran passed Isgro, my favorite cannoli spot in Philadelphia and then back up to South Street. The finish line ends at 4th and South Street where I ran into a bunch of Mummers who were there cheering us on!
The Philly 10k holds a special place in my heart because each year that I spend in South Philly, I gain a new appreciation for what an amazing neighborhood it truly is and how fortunate I am to call it home. I am so excited to be treating my neighbors at the new Penn Therapy & Fitness South Philadelphia location. See you at the next race!
About the Blogger:
Kira Sender, PT, DPT,received her doctorate of PT from Drexel University and her Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Maryland-College Park. She has a special interest in working with endurance athletes treating orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions of the lower extremities and spine.