On Your Mark! Get Set! Love!
This past weekend, on Sunday, March 26, the city of Philadelphia hosted one of its largest races. Commonly known as the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia staged its annual Love Run, a half marathon (13.1 miles) race with over 11,000 racers participating. The Love Run is the only half marathon hosted in the city between the months of January and June, so as you can imagine, it is usually pretty busy!
Starting at the Eakins Oval near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the course snakes through the city streets along the picturesque Schuylkill River and ends in front of the Museum of Art at the iconic “Rocky steps.”
Unlike the rainy weather that the greater Philadelphia area experienced in the days leading up to the event, Sunday’s race day provided what all would consider perfect running weather: sunny skies and moderate temperatures. The scene was set with blasting music, food vendors, and plenty of words of encouragement as the racers lined up to compete.
This year, the event had several Swatties in attendance, with many of them running their first half marathon. Though not his first rodeo per se, one of the most notable competitors was Swarthmore alum Spencer Friske ’16. Previously a member of Swarthmore’s cross country and track & field teams, Friske has an extremely impressive track record when it comes to his running accomplishments. This past fall, Friske qualified for the Olympic Trials after winning the Guthrie Wineglass Marathon in Corning, New York with a sub-two-hour and eighteen-minute mark, coming in at 2:17:57. Now, his list of accolades includes being the overall winner of the 2023 Philadelphia Love Run!
Spencer Friske clocked a time of 1:07:17.37 in the half marathon race, averaging a pace of five minutes and eight seconds per mile.
Following the race, Friske commented, “Strategy-wise, I ran the first ten miles pretty controlled, at about marathon goal pace, and then picked it up the last few miles.”
For the first ten miles, Friske kept a steady pace of around 5:10 per mile, picking it up to 5:08 in the last three miles despite the course’s sudden uptick in elevation.
On June 17, Friske will compete in a full marathon, Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. “I’m currently building towards a June marathon and am just getting into the main block of training,” Friske stated. “The Love Run was a great opportunity to run a hometown rust-buster, and to get a feel for racing again. It was fun, and great to have the crowd support, but lots of work to do in the next three months!”
All in all, the race was a fun time for many. There were many smiles throughout the miles, great support groups along the way, and of course, the accomplishment of running a challenging race. The participants all endured the trials and tribulations that come with participating in any half marathon, but in the end, they all seemed to love the Love Run.