Fitness Moment of the Week: Runners Retrace Rocky’s 50K Philly Run

As inspirational movie scenes go, the “training run” from Rocky II (1979) is among the very best.  Rocky in his all-gray sweats running through the City of Brotherly Love, with Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” playing in the background, culminating at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps – how can you not get fired up?

Of course, Rocky goes on to victory, beating Apollo Creed. Less well known is that his famed run, if done in real life, would have covered 31 Miles (50 Kilometers)!

Could it be done today? A group of ultra-marathoners gathered in Philadelphia last Saturday to find out, in the first ever reenactment of Rocky’s run.

In what was unofficially dubbed “the Rocky 50k,” 150 runners started out from Rocky’s South Philadelphia home and wove their way through the city, covering all the places shown in the famous montage.  While not every contender made it to the Museum steps (and no official times were kept), some finished in true Rocky style, and the no-amenities race was considered a success.

As one runner quoted by The Wall Street Journal  put it: “Rocky was running to better himself and push his limits, and that’s what we did here today.”

Inspired to do a little training of your own, Rocky-style? Check out this 15-minute boxing interval training protocol for your next treadmill workout.


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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

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