The Rocky Run: It's happening!

On the heels of Dan McQuade’s epic “How Far Did Rocky Run?” blog post two weeks back, local resident Rebecca Schaefer has take the next step. She’s organizing a December early-morning trek through the streets and neighborhoods of Philadelphia, retracing the Italian Stallion’s famous journey while training to take the heavyweight championship from Apollo Creed in Rocky II.

Schaefer, an avid runner and Center City resident, has tweaked the course (but only very slightly) to be exactly 31 miles long (or 50 kilometers). The race will take place on Saturday, December 7 starting at 7:00 a.m. on the corner of Wolf and South Lambert Streets—Rocky’s home block in the sequel.

Sports Doc talked to Rebecca Schaefer to learn more about the race.

So we’ve all seen the blog post, but how did you make this into a race?

Rebecca: When I read that post, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t already a race. How could this not happen? The more I talked to my running friends, I realized there was a lot of support for this. I put together a Facebook group—it already has hundreds of people interested. It’s grown to more than I even believed it would.

How’s the race going to work?

Rebecca: Well, I went out and ran about half the course as it’s laid out in the story. In the spirit of the movie, I decided I’m going to make this a Fatass race.

A what?

Rebecca: Yeah, I know, but that’s what it’s called in the ultra-marathon community. I’m learning that not everyone knows the vernacular—it’s very specific to this community. It’s not meant to insult anyone—it just refers to a race with no entry fee, no bibs, no medals—you just show up and run. The people who are going to show up to do something like this aren’t going to care about getting a medal, etc., and I think that fits perfectly with the spirit of the movie.

So let’s review the course, as if there’s anyone who hasn’t seen the movie.

Rebecca: We’re going to start down at Rocky’s house—at the corner, anyway, I don’t want to disturb the neighbors (Editor’s note: no jumping over the railing to start.) It’ll run up Passyunk Avenue, then take Columbus Boulevard all the way up to Lehigh Avenue, then we’ll run all through the Kensington/Port Richmond areas, then take Broad Street down to run north through the Italian Market to get back up onto Lehigh Avenue.

We’ll head up onto Kelly Drive before we head to the finish—the Art Museum steps. That’s what everyone associates with the Rocky run, but the best part of this event is runners will get to see so many parts of Philadelphia.

This run is schedule less than three weeks after the Philadelphia Marathon. You think anyone’s crazy enough to try both?

Rebecca: Well… me? (laughs) I’d like to, anyway. Actually, it works perfectly. Marathon training should be enough to finish a 50K race—three weeks after a marathon, another five miles isn’t that much more, if you go a little slower. Three weeks is a perfect amount of time to recover. And again, this isn’t technically a race. If people want to do half of the run, or just a certain part of it, that’s fine. Those who want to gut it out and finish the whole course—great. This race is all about what you want to make it. For me, I definitely plan to run in gray sweats and Chuck Taylors!

Follow the build-up to the Rocky 50K Run at Rebecca's blog,

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

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