It was easy to become lost in a sea of red baseball caps on Saturday morning, despite the obvious absence of the sun. Phillies fans love an underdog, and the looming clouds in the sky the morning of the 2nd annual Phillies Charities 5k were no exception.
A little rain wasn't enough to stop thousands of participants from rising early and stepping into their sneakers. By 9am, a record 5,000 runners were organized behind the START banner at Citizens Bank Park. The mass volume of families and solo runners in Phillies garb was a sight to behold; a select few even arrived dressed in full uniform as their favorite player. A resounding "GO!" echoed past the stadium, and a spirited ocean of red, white and navy blue spilled through the grey haze.
First place can only be earned by one person, and this year it went to gifted local runner, Chris Lyons (26, Huntingdon Valley), with a mind-boggling 16 minute and 18 second finish (5:15/ mile pace). Despite some grunts along the way, nearly every finisher looked pleased as they crossed the end of the 3.1 mile course. Finishers made their way into the stadium for a 'victory lap', a stroll through the outfield and green perimeter, some stopping to check the Jumbotron for their name and time. Friends and families shared hugs with the Phanatic, who was decked out in red, and snapped photos with Phillies Ball Girls, while wearing their new home plate-shaped finisher medals.
The team may be away for Spring Training, but the fans who ran for Phillies Charities last weekend seemed content just to be back at the ball park.
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