Philadelphia Top Race Moments

Philadelphia: Home to the Liberty Bell, the best cheesesteaks in the country, and America’s fastest half marathon course. In honor of 40+ years running of this historical event, we pulled together a list of some of the top race moments, going back to its roots as the Philadelphia Distance Run.

2014: Deena Kastor’s Four Masters World Records and One American Masters Record

The 41-year-old Olympic bronze medalist and American marathon record holder added another mark to her impressive and extensive resume in 2014: the Masters world record in the half marathon. Kastor clocked 1:09:36 to finish third. Her showing was a 20-second improvement over the previous world best set by Russia’s Irina Permitina in 2008. Along the way, Kastor also set three more Masters world records at 15K (49:03), 10 miles (52:41) and 20K (1:05:52). She also broke her own American Masters half-marathon record of 1:11:38.

2011: Mathew Kisorio and Kim Smith Set the U.S. All Comer’s Records

Mathew Kisorio of Kenya broke the tape in 2011 with a winning time of 58:46, besting the U.S. All Comer’s record that had been previously held by Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie. Kisorio also broke his own course record and ran the fourth-fastest half marathon in history. In the women’s race, New Zealand’s Kim Smith shattered her own U.S. All-Comer’s mark, winning the race in 1:07:12. She bettered her previous mark by 36 seconds.

1984: Joan Samuelson Breaks Her Own World Record

A three-time champion of the Philadelphia Distance Run from 1983 – 1985, Joan Samuelson set a new half marathon world record in 1984 of 1:08:34, besting her 1983 world record time run on the same course by an astounding 40 seconds.

1985: Mark Curp Sets the World Record

Curp put in several hard surges in the last mile of the Philadelphia Distance Run in 1985, dropping two-time winner and previous world record holder Michael Musyoki of Kenya to set a world record for the half marathon distance of 1:00:55. Curp got to the finish line two seconds ahead of Musyoki, with Nick Rose of Great Britain finishing another six seconds behind the Kenyan.

2005: Deena Kastor Sets the American Record

The American record that Joan Samuelson set in 1984 stood for over 20 years before it was broken by Kastor at the 2005 edition of the Philadelphia Distance Run with her winning time of 1:07:53.


Philadelphia Top Race Moments Deena Kastor
Deena Kastor looking fierce on course at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon