November 20, 2011 - Philadelphia, PA - Over 200 runners will run the 5 and 5/8 miles course in the 107th Schuylkill Navy Run, schedule to start at 9:15 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day this Thursday, November 22nd.
The Schuylkill Navy Run began in 1899, and except for missing two years during World War I and two years during World War II, has been a tradition for rowers in Philadelphia and the region.
Among the entrants expected to compete this Thanksgiving Day are last year's men's winner (and eight-time champion) Shane Madden, and defending women's winner Liz Welsh (a three-time winner).
The Schuylkill Navy Run begins at Malta Boat Club on Kelly Drive, and continues over five and 5/8 miles of hilly terrain. The runners go inbound on Kelly Drive to the traffic light in front of Lloyd Hall, turn left and go up Lemon Hill and over the Girard Avenue Bridge, then right onto Lansdowne Avenue. Just past Sweetbriar Cutoff, the course turns right and starts the true "cross country" segment across grassy surfaces. Runners go to the General Meade Monument, then follow to the Pagoda entrance gate to Belmont Plateau, up the hill to Belmont Mansion, and return by way of Brewery Hill down Kelly Drive back to Malta Boat Club.
Any and all members of The Schuylkill Navy clubs and its affiliates are eligible to compete, as well as guest runners (friends and family). The classifications include open (men and women not eligible to run masters, junior or guest divisions); Masters (men and women 40 years of age and older); juniors (high school students); guests; and novices (first time runners). Additional information about this year's Schuylkill Navy Run is available online at http://boathouserow.org/index.php/events/116-schuylkill-navy-run .
Also in the field this year once again is one of the most decorated athletes in Philadelphia rowing history, the legendary Fred Duling, who will compete in the Schuylkill Navy Run for the 53rd consecutive year.
Unlike the previous years, however, Duling is competing in far different circumstances this Thanksgiving. In December 2011, Duling fell over a balcony while working at Malta Boat Club on Boathouse Row, fracturing his spine in four different places: the C1, C2, C5 and C6 vertebrae. He suffered a concussion, broken nose, broken cheek bone and had several deep lacerations on his face. The 68-year-old Philadelphia rowing legend is now paralyzed from the abdomen down, and will be competing this year, as he did last year, in a wheel chair, assisted by his daughter Sara.
Duling is one of the most decorated athletes in Philadelphia rowing history, and a many time United States national champion in the sport. He rowed on three US national teams in his youth. As recently as the summer of 2009, at age 65, he won gold medals in three events at the US Rowing Masters National Championships, and several more at the Rowing Masters World Championships. He won the US National Championship in the light single in his age group at the Masters national rowing championships in 2007. He has won many rowing national championship gold medals, including at least five in the past few years at masters' nationals, and several medals, including gold, at the World Masters Rowing Championships. Notably, to celebrate his 60th birthday in 2004, Duling rowed 60 miles on one day.
Founded in 1858, the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia is the oldest amateur athletic governing body in the United States. Today the Schuylkill Navy comprises the clubs of Boathouse Row: Fairmount, Crescent, Bachelors, University, Malta, Vesper, College, Penn A.C., Undine, Philadelphia Girls', and Gillin, the newest upriver member. The clubs share the river with the Philadelphia Rowing Program for the Disabled, dragon boats, canoes, and kayaks.
The Schuylkill Navy is also the organizers of the Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series, With three of the largest regattas in the Mid-Atlantic region on the schedule, as well as two of the nation's oldest regattas, the Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series connects the rowing competitors of today to the historic home of the international rowing elite. It is built upon a tradition that launched November 12, 1835 with the first organized regatta on Philadelphia's historic Schuylkill River (a full eight years before the start of the rowing program at Harvard).
The Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series has been recognized by the Philadelphia Sports Congress as one of the "Premier Annual Events" for the city, state and region along with the Penn Relays (April); Blue Cross Broad Street Run (May); Devon Horse Show (May); TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship (June); Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon (June); ING Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon (September); the Philadelphia Marathon (November) and Army-Navy Football.
The official host hotel of the 2012 Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series is the Sonesta Hotel Philadelphia. Official sponsors of the Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series include Monarch Travel Services and Spike's Trophies. Hilton Garden Inn Fort Washington and Double Tree Suites by Hilton Philadelphia West are hotel partners of the Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series.
Additional information is available at http://www.BoathouseRow.org.