While the Philadelphia Marathon is the main event of this weekend, it is just the end of a full slate events the city has scheduled. The weekend starts on Saturday with the Rothman institute 8k and lesser experienced runners can compete in the half marathon on Sunday. The half marathon was added to the weekend in 2006 and begins at 7am, starting and finishing on the Ben Franklin Parkway just like the full marathon.
The 13.1 mile course runs through Old City, Center City, Fairmount Park and along the Schuylkill River. It's seen as an excellent introduction for runners who hope to compete in the full marathon one day. It's often quite common to see people who ran the New York marathon two weeks ago to come down for the half marathon here.
The Rothman Institute 8K takes place on Saturday and is a near 5 mile course for beginners. It also starts on the Ben Franklin Parkway, near the art museum and runs along the Schuylkill River. Several runners will compete in the 8k on Saturday as a warmup for the full marathon on Sunday.