Thousands of runners, organizers, volunteers and fans are gearing up for the 19th annual Philadelphia Marathon this weekend.

The event, which is expected to draw 30,000 runners and 60,000 spectators to the city between Saturday and Sunday, includes the Rothman Institute 8K, the Philadelphia Marathon and Philadelphia Half Marathon.

The Rothman Institute 8K will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The Half Marathon and full Marathon both kick off at 7 a.m. on Sunday. All races will begin and end on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street.

Runners participating in the full marathon will loop through Fairmount Park, Center City, Old City, University City, East Falls and Manayunk. 

Street closures, SEPTA detours and parking

Starting Saturday, the inner lanes of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Logan Circle to MLK Drive will be closed from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

On race day, Kelly Drive from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Ridge Avenue will be closed from 5 a.m. until 4 p.m. and both the 22nd and 23rd street entrances from Route 676 are expected to close early in the morning. Travelers should note that streets will re-open on a rolling basis as runners pass designated mile-markers on Sunday.

Although no parking will be available anywhere directly along the course on Sunday (starting at 5 a.m.), there are a few parking options in the area. If you want to be near the start/finish line, try Expert Parking, located at 21st Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, or Windsor Garage, located at 1700 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Discount parking coupons for select locations are available at Philadelphia.CentralParking.com under the "Attractions" tab. You can also find a number of suggested parking garages and lots on the Philadelphia Marathon website.

SEPTA will operate under normal weekend schedules but many bus routes will be detoured around the race areas. 

Race day cheer zones 

Marathon organizers will have two dozen "cheer zones" set up throughout the course on race day.

Volunteers at each site will be blasting music, passing out noisemakers to fans and offering water to passing runners. 

Here are our top cheer zone picks. For the full list, click here

  • Art Museum area on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway – Start/finish line
 6:55 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
  • 16th and Arch streets near LOVE Park and City Hall - Mile 1
 5 a.m. to 7:40 a.m.

  • "High Five" zone 21st and Chestnut streets - Mile 6.5
 7:10 a.m. to 9 a.m.

    • Celebrate the Mayor's Annual High Five Award by giving a high-five to runners.
  • "Kids" zone, Philadelphia Zoo area at 34th St. and Girard Ave. - Mile 8.5 
7:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • West Memorial Hall Drive area near Please Touch Museum - Mile 9.8
 7:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
    • Join the Philadelphia Taiko Center as they entertain the crowd with traditional Japanese drumming.
  • Designated course turnaround area at MLK Dr. and Black Rd. - Mile 11.1
 7:20 a.m. to 10 a.m.
    • 
A runner's favorite, the Vaudevillians NYB keep runners going as half marathoners are almost to the finish line and the full marathoners are getting into the groove.
  • Fairmount Park area at Sedgley Ave. and Kelly Dr. - Miles 13.5 & 25.7
 7:25 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

    • Enjoy scenes of historic Boathouse Row and the music of the Philadelphia Freedom Band.
  • Manayunk area at Main St. and Ridge Ave. - Miles 18.7 & 21.3
 7:40 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    • Free Agents DJs will play music at this zone.
  • Main and Cotton streets - Miles 19.8 & 20.2 
7:40 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    • This zone, hosted outside of Winnie's LeBus Restaurant, offers a discount to runners who show their bib. 

Weekend activities 

In addition to the featured races, the weekend will include a free Health and Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Friday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and again on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with fitness professionals about health and wellness while browsing fitness gear and marathon merchandise. 

Kids will also get their chance to participate in race weekend at the Kids Fun Run on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday. 

Many retailers and restaurants throughout the city will be offering discounts and special deals to runners and fans alike throughout the weekend. A free Weekend Fan Pass can get you a free menu item at Manayunk's Bourbon Blue or a copy of "The A to Z of Antique Prints and Maps" upon purchase at Chestnut Hill's Philadelphia Print Shop.

How to stay connected 

Whether you're on the sidelines or crossing the finish line, NewsWorks wants to see the scene that you're seeing: the effort and (sometimes) grace of the runners, the enthusiasm of the crowd, all the elements that go into staging a marathon.

So, we invite you to send your photos this Sunday to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  to be featured in our photo gallery, which will grow throughout the day and provide a vivid record of the event for all who take part.

For the latest updates and photos on race day, follow us on Twitter at @RoxYunkFalls and @NewsWorksWHYY and check out our live blog starting at 6 a.m. on NewsWorks.org.