As you may have seen if you read my post earlier this week, Ardmore resident Michael McKeeman won the Philadelphia Marathon last weekend. Another resident, Cathy Hilliard of South Ardmore, also completed the marathon.
Hilliard is a Senior Research Toxicologist at Merck Sharp & Dohme, and this marathon was her third. She was joined by a friend from San Antonio, and her goal was “to break my time from last year at the Rehoboth Beach Marathon.” And she did. Last year, she ran the marathon in 4:20, and this year she ran in 4:16.
She first ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 1996, and it’s changed significantly since then. At that time, there were just a few thousand runners, and this year, there were more than 30,000 runners participating between the marathon and the half-marathon.
Her favorite part of the experience was the 60,000 spectators lining the course: “they gave us really good support” through signs, and even a serenade of Taps at one point. The funniest sign she saw read, “If you were Paul Ryan, you would have been here an hour ago.”
She also enjoyed the camaraderie between the runners. When she was close to the end, at mile 26 with just 200 meters to go, exhausted and trying to push through, a man in front of her stopped, and “people helped pull him along, so he could finish.”
Originally from the Carlisle, PA area in Central Pennsylvania, Hilliard has lived in Ardmore for eight years. She chose to live in Ardmore because she “liked the neighborhoods, the mix of people, the many things to do, good restaurants, and a good movie theater nearby” [Bryn Mawr Film Institute]. She also liked its proximity to Chester County, where she can ride horses, a lifelong passion.
Her favorite thing to do in Ardmore is to “spend a warm Saturday working in the garden and have a chat and a beer with my neighbors.” She thinks Ardmore is a great place to live because it has a “very close knit community where people help people out.”