On Thursday evening at 6:58 p.m., more than 360 joggers of all ages, shapes, sizes and square inches of tattoo lined up on the pavement alongside South Ardmore Park for the second installment of the Midsummer Night 5K series. At 7, off the horde went.
No excuses. No sleeves.
"This is our third year doing this, though we did a race unofficially the year before that," explained event organizer Ryan Walsh while the mass of legs worked their way around the first of the three "Ardmore Loops" that comprised the course. "We'll raise about $4,000 with the races this year."
The "races" are made up of Thursday's 5K and its June 9 and August 11 bookends. Entry is $25 for an individual race, or $45 to enter all three. The proceeds go to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Merion Fire Co.
Before Thursday's main event, there was a short footrace for the kids—though many who looked eligible to compete opted for the 5K instead—and a sort of pre-registration party in the park, where entrants hydrated and inspected sneakers in sponsor Brooks' blue tent.
"Much nicer tonight than the first race was," added Walsh. "It was 100 degrees in June."
It was cooler than that on Thursday, a fact Tom Parlapiano, for one, appreciated. Fifteen minutes and 52 seconds after the race began, Parlapiano, 29, crossed the finish line to take first place.
"My time was where it should be," said Parlapiano, a supervisor at Vanguard who does two or three races a month—generally anything 10K and under. "I'd love to be faster though."
Renee Scott was among the 359 or so who would have been content with three consecutive 5-minute miles. Scott crossed the finish line about 26 minutes behind that pace.
"I feel good," said Scott, 60. "But I walked the whole thing."
"I used to walk all the time, but I somehow got out of it. This was nice though," she said.
After at least one more person crossed the finish line, there was an awards ceremony, and an afterparty at on County Line Road in Ardmore.
Everyone who entered (the race, that is) got a free drink.