Philadelphia Marathon weekend begins as runners check in ahead of Saturday's Half Marathon

CENTER CITY - Friday marks a big day for Philadelphia as runners from all over the world begin to check in for marathon weekend.

Officials say this year's marathon has drawn the largest attendance in its 30-year history as there are 11,000 more runners than last year.

People from all walks of life, representing more than 37 countries, anxiously waited to head inside the convention center to grab their race day gear Friday morning.

The jam-packed weekend will start with the half marathon Saturday morning, followed by the full on Sunday and runners and their families prepare for the excitement.

"I’m just out enjoying life and encouraging people to do what you never thought possible." said Aaron Burros. He flew in from Texas to be a part of the action.

Runners say the course is what draws people in as they make their way through historic Center City, Fairmount Park, University City and more.

"I was looking for a flat marathon, as I am trying to run a marathon in every state. I’m at number 26." said Linda Brown.

The big turnout means lots of road closures.

Expect roadways in and around the course to shut down starting at 6 a.m. Saturday.

"I think everybody should prepare for an amazing weekend. Get to the start line EARLY," said Kathleen Titus, the marathon's race director.

The races contribute to the American Association for Cancer research with a goal of raising $600,000 this year.