Philadelphia Marathon Welcomes New Executive Director Desiree Peterkin-Bell

10 Mar 2013 03:36
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Press Release

(PHILADELPHIA) March 6, 2013 — A new leader will set the pace for the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon.

Race organizers announced the addition of Desiree Peterkin-Bell as the new Executive Director of the Philadelphia Marathon. Peterkin-Bell will continue to build on the recent success of a top-10 national marathon through partnerships in the running and hospitality communities as well as within city government.

“I’m thrilled to join the Philadelphia Marathon,” Peterkin-Bell said. “The event is among the best marathons in the United States. I plan to continue guiding the Philadelphia Marathon’s growth through a mix of marketing, social media, traditional approaches and other strategic avenues, showcasing the race not only as an athletic event but as a platform highlighting our dynamic city as a destination place.”

Peterkin-Bell has already heightened Philadelphia’s social media and national news presence and leveraged the city’s assets effectively through proactive civic engagement. Peterkin-Bell also led strategic communications efforts for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, from 2006 to 2010, and prior to that, served in the Michael Bloomberg administration as a Supervising Legislative Representative and later the Vice President of Government Affairs for New York City’s Marketing Development Corporation. She also served Mayor Bart Peterson of Indianapolis and served a short stint in Washington, D.C.

She is known and recognized nationally as a consummate communicator and diligent practitioner of social media. She will serve in a dual capacity as both the City Representative, who is tasked with promoting the City of Philadelphia and representing the Mayor, while maintaining her role as the Mayor’s Office Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships in which she guides communications in the Mayor’s Office.

Peterkin-Bell was first appointed by Mayor Michael Nutter, serving as the mayor’s communications director since 2010. Peterkin-Bell left her city position in 2010 and became a Senior Advisor for Communications in Pennsylvania for the Obama for America campaign. She returned to the City of Philadelphia last November, and now joins the Philadelphia Marathon, following a record-breaking year.

The 2012 event boasted 30,000 registrants, establishing the largest competitive field in the race’s history. Race Weekend highlights included broken course records in the half-marathon and Rothman Institute 8K. Local runner, Michael McKeeman, of Ardmore, PA., delighted hometown race fans by winning the men’s marathon. The event also hosted nearly 1,500 ING New York City marathoners displaced by Hurricane Sandy. The marathon brings together more than 30,000 race participants, 60,000 spectators and 3,000 volunteers on a beautiful and historic course during three days of excitement, competition and fun.

Among the largest marathons nationally, Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend welcomes runners from all 50 states and over 45 countries to Philadelphia during three days of events each November. Much more than just an athletic competition, the Philadelphia Marathon acts as a vehicle to connect local businesses, hotels, charities and government to create a spectacular showcase for Philadelphia residents and tourists. Runners can improve the environment, raise money for a charity or embrace active living through the Philadelphia Marathon.

Peterkin-Bell replaces Melanie Johnson, who served successfully as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Marathon, from 2008 to 2012. The Philadelphia Marathon celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2013.

Philadelphia Marathon Weekend attracts more than 30,000 runners and 60,000 spectators to Philadelphia to experience “The Best Time of Your Life.” Race Weekend features The Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday, November 17; the 8K Race and Kids Fun Run on Saturday, November 16; and a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo Friday, November 15 and Saturday, November 16. Race participants pass many of Philadelphia’s famous attractions on the swift and scenic USATF-certified course, which is a Boston qualifier. Take the first step to experiencing 26.2 miles of fun, beauty, history and excitement by visiting