Think of it this way: The equivalent of the entire population of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is about to descend on Philadelphia this Sunday.
More than 160,000 people are expected to flood the city starting as early as 5 a.m. for the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon that starts in Center City and the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins NFL game at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia.
That will test local roads, SEPTA and PATCO. And it has real potential for a logistical headache, combined with newly strengthened security procedures for the marathon's start and finish on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings last spring.
Runners, volunteers and tailgaters heading to the game will be flooding the streets and transit systems at the same time, and city officials and police are bracing.
In all, 30,000 runners - some from as far away as Tokyo - are registered for the half-marathon and full marathon, 3,000 volunteers are expected to help, and 60,000 spectators are expected to line local roads to cheer. Consider how popular the marathon has now become: about 1,100 participants ran the inaugural 1994 race.
The race starts at 7 a.m. and runners are given more than six hours to complete it, meaning thousands will likely still be pounding the pavement as Eagles fans will be heading to the parking lots around the Linc for pre-game tailgating.
So whether you’re running, cheering on family and friends, or just trying to get around the city, be prepared. Here’s what you need to know about transit and security to, from and during the race.
Saturday: Rothman Institute 8k at 7:30 a.m. and Kids Fun Run at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday: GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon, 7 a.m. (wheelchair and hand cycle racers start at 6:57 a.m.)
GETTING TO AND FROM THE RACE
- SEPTA will operate on a normal weekend schedule.
- There will be extra service on the Broad Street Line before and after the marathon, leading up to the start of the Eagles game.
- The nearest subway stops to the race start are 30th Street and 15th Street on the Market-Frankford Line or Race-Vine, Spring Garden and City Hall stations on the Broad Street Line.
- Due to race road closures, detours on some bus routes will be in effect on Saturday from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Sunday from 3 a.m. through early evening.
- Affected routes include R, 2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 16, 17, 21, 23, 25, 27, 32, 33, 35, 38, 40, 42, 43, 47, 47M, 48, 57, 61, 64, 65, 124, 125 and 15.
- Detailed detour information is available on SEPTA’s website.
- Many streets will be closed along the 26.2-mile route.
- Major roadways affected include: the Parkway, where closures will be in place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday and from 6:30 p.m. Friday through 6 p.m. Sunday, and the Interstate 676 off-ramps at 22nd and 23rd streets, which will be closed beginning at 3 a.m. Sunday.
- Other key closures include parts of Kelly Drive, Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Street.
- Saturday street closures include the Parkway from 18th Street to Eakins Oval and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
- On Sunday, streets will be reopened after runners pass through; all roads should reopen by 6 p.m.
- To see where closures will be in place Sunday, view the marathon course map, half marathon course map and a complete list of road closures.
- Beginning Saturday, no on-street parking will be allowed on the Parkway.
- Motorists can search for nearby garages and lots on the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s website.
- City officials warn that "no parking" regulations along the course will be strictly enforced and that beginning Sunday at 3 a.m., all vehicles parked along the route will be towed.
AT THE START
- For the first time, runners in the marathon and half marathon will need to pass through security checkpoints to get to the start, and spectators on Sunday must go through security to stand along the Parkway from 20th to 25th streets.
- The checkpoints won’t be in place for Saturday’s races.
- Here is a map of the checkpoints; note that some are for runners only.
- Race officials are advising runners to arrive by 5 a.m. to allow time to get through the checkpoints.
- Only clear bags are permitted in the secure zone, and runners using gear check must use race-issued clear bags.
- Backpacks, satchels and coolers are not allowed. Diaper bags are permitted.
- Hydration packs, bags and belts, as well as small personal items are allowed, but are subject to search. Sealed plastic water bottles are also permitted.
Inside the secure zone
- The races start and finish on the Parkway at North 22nd Street.
- Maps are available of the start/finish area and starting corrals.
- Gear check and pre-race water are located at Eakins Oval.
- Port-a-potties are located in a number of places in the secure zone, including near multiple security checkpoints and along Eakins Oval.