Bob Koen, 73, is ready to run his 26th straight Philadelphia Marathon

Bob Koen Plans to run this Marathon Every year as long as he physically can.

He has run all the Philadelphia Marathons since its 1994 reincarnation. He has seen the race grow over the years.

In 1994, only 1,500 people competed in the marathon. Now the marathon organizers are forced to limit the number of entrants to 15,000.

Koen likes this marathon because for him it is like competing on his home turf. His favorite part of the race course is the Martin Luther King Drive and the Kelly Drive because he often trains there.

Including the Philadelphia Marathons, Koen has run a total of 54 marathons. His best finishing time is 3:37:30, which he set at the 1999 Chicago Marathon.

When Koen began running in 1986, at age 40, he never imagined that he would be a marathon runner.

In 1986 at a Cherry Hill N.J. gym: "I was playing basketball. This guy there was 13 years older than me and he was always outrunning me on the court," said Koen. "I finally asked him why I couldn't keep up with him. He said that he runs 3 miles every day and then he talked me into running a 5K (3.1 miles)."

Koen soon caught the "running bug" and it became a huge part of his life.

He is finally injury free. The last couple years, he was struggling with a neck injury due to a bad fall he sustained while running.

A special Philly Marathon moment was when Koen finished the 20th running of the Philadelphia Marathon, Mark Sullivan, 57, of Freeburg, P.a. met him at the finish line.

"We're the only two who have run all the Philadelphia Marathons," said Sullivan who will also compete this Sunday.

posted Friday November 22nd
by David Block