It was just two years ago that Philadelphia’s own Rocky 50k run made its debut. What started as a joke by Philadelphia Magazine writer Dan McQuade has quickly evolved into a yearly tradition for hundreds of runners from across the country. (There was even a baby named in its honor!)
Created by ultra-runner Rebecca Barber, the serpentine course is mapped out at 50 kilometers long — that’s a little over 31 miles — starting in South Philly, weaving through the Italian Market, through North Philadelphia, along the Schuylkill River banks, and finally finishing on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Categorized as a “Fat Ass” race, this ultra marathon is technically a low key affair, characterized by the phrase “no fees, no awards, no aid, no wimps.”
There are no qualifying times, no registration hoops to jump through. Just show up and run — whether you hop on the course for a few miles, or tackle the whole thing.
So what would possess someone to run 31 miles through the city, based on a fictional training route by a fictional boxer? We spoke to Rebecca Barber to find out.
Geekadelphia: You’re a runner, when did you begin showing interest in the sport? What is it about this that appeals to you?
Rebecca Barber: I’ve been running all of my life. I started running in elementary school. I played a bunch of sports but I joined the track club and…I ran all four years of high school.
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Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia journalists and blogger. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis and blogger for The Huffington Post. Click here to learn more about Peak.