Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Philly Marathon: One Runner Gets Back In The Groove

In this first in a series, Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn talks about getting back in running shape as he prepares for Philly Marathon weekend.

Philly Marathon: One Runner Gets Back In The Groove

Inquirer Sports Editor John Quinn last blogged for about his experience with the Broad Street Run. That was the last time he ran - until this past weekend - when he participated in the Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge 10K. John's back, and will be sharing his experience as he prepares for the Rothman Institute 8K, as part of the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. This is just part of our coverage of this year's Philadelphia Marathon. You can read all of the articles at And don't forget to join us there on race day to follow the action.

by John Quinn

I take the Ben Franklin Bridge to work every day heading into Philadelphia. No time to play tourist. Only when you get to ride in the passenger’s seat do you get a glimpse of the magnificent view as the car ride lasts anywhere from two minutes to a half hour. But if it takes more than four minutes, you’re in no mood to look around, anyway.

On Sunday morning, I got a rare glimpse, a gift that I would have to pay for later. The Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge 10k started at 8:30 a.m. on the Camden side. We were given markers to stand at the start so the runners could be properly grouped. It went from elite at the front, and ascended by minutes per mile. Most were in the 8-to-10-minute corrals. The last dividing line was 12 minutes, then Walkers. So this size 13 shoe took his wide body and created his own 13-minute-but-not-yet-Walking group. While I was not alone, it sure felt lonely at the back.

More coverage
More on the Philly Marathon: Examining Runners And Cardiac Arrest

I also was a part of another select group, the Clydesdales. There were age groups and gender groups and finally a category made for me: Over 200 pounds.

A deafening helicopter hovered above,  then left, and the horn sounded for us to traverse over to the Philadelphia side, toll free. I veered as far right as I could and took in the beautiful sights, alternating waterfront with skyline. And at the rate I was going, there was plenty of time for it all to sink in.

It was cold, and windy and seemingly uphill on both sides.

By the time winner Sam Ndereba crossed the finish line in 29 minutes and 59 seconds, I was still on the bridge passing the two-mile mark.

Before the race, I was psychologically prepared to Run the Bridge, which turned out to be about three miles. When I finished the return trip to Camden, I found out I had another three miles to go.

This is why casual runners run 5ks, not 10ks.  

This ain’t no disco.

We headed south down Broadway, then Cooper and finally passing the Battleship of New Jersey, which again was a treat.

I entered Campbell Field on empty, but two cheerleaders took me by the arms and helped me sprint to the wire. One hour and 22 minutes and 5 seconds. I finished 3,195 out of 3,263 (and not last of the Clydesdales).

While everyone wound down, eating bananas, energy bars, animal crackers and bagels, the awards ceremony began. As the winners got sporadic cheers, the final runner came into view, entering the stadium.

The public address announcer diverted everyone’s attention and the remaining crowd gave
Thomas Hamlin, 66, of Brackney, Pa., a standing ovation. He hit the tape in 1:52.20, followed by his police escort. A woman near the medal stand turned to me and said: “That takes a lot of courage.”

The human spirit triumphed. There was no difference between first and last.

Not this day.

About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

Robert Senior Sports Doc blog Editor
Alfred Atanda, Jr., M.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Robert Cabry, M.D. Drexel Sports Medicine, Team physician - U.S. Figure Skating, Assoc. Team Physician - Drexel
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Symetrix Sports Performance, athletic trainer at OAA Orthopaedics
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Rothman Institute, Head Team Physician for the Phillies & St. Joe's
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Rothman Institute, Head Team Physician - Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon - Flyers
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director - The Center For Sport Psychology, Sports Psychology Consultant - 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Rothman Institute, Team Physician - USA Wrestling, Consultant - Philadelphia Phillies
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer at The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Cassie Haynes, JD, MPH Co-Founder, Trap Door Athletics, CrossFit LI Certified
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician - Drexel, Philadelphia University, Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Jim McCrossin, ATC Flyers and Phantoms
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales, Pa.
David Rubenstein, M.D. Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center, Team Orthopedist - Philadelphia 76ers
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute, Athletic Trainer - US Soccer Federation
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