Apr 21, 2022 - Things to Do

Discover Philly's street art scene with running group Mural Miles

Two side-by-side photos of groups of runners posing in front of Philadelphia murals.
Photos courtesy of Craig Oppenheimer

Philly is lauded as the "Mural Capital of the World" for its thousands of public artworks scattered across the city. And one group is trying to educate residents about the art around them — by lacing up their sneakers.

What's happening: Mural Miles organizes free runs to learn about the city's murals once a month. The next one is this Saturday.

How it started: Triathlete Craig Oppenheimer invited a few friends to go for a run in March 2021, and they based their route around murals in the city.

  • "I figured if we're going to go to these murals, we might as well stop and read some information about them," Oppenheimer said. So he took to Google and brought along tidbits about the artworks to share with his friends.
  • Once they finished the route, Oppenheimer realized: "I think this is a thing." He started an Instagram page, Mural Miles, and began posting information about more runs he was planning.
  • Soon enough, his initial group of five turned into 60, and they've even attracted partnerships with major companies, like On Running.

How it works: The free runs are each around 5 miles long, with stops at five to six murals along the way.

  • Oppenheimer and other group leaders share stories behind the artworks, which can spark discussions.
  • They try to make it engaging too. They hold quizzes and giveaways, and runners often go out for coffee or happy hour afterward.

The intrigue: Oppenheimer reaches out to both Mural Arts Philadelphia and the mural artists directly for information or anecdotes about their work. And some of the artists have even joined the runs to talk about their murals first-hand.

What he's saying: "I think it's a great way to involve art lovers, runners, people who are just getting into running, people who are experienced runners and everyone in between," Oppenheimer tells Axios. "We've had people on bikes. Three dogs came on our last run. Everybody."

What to watch: It's likely a Mural Miles run will come to your neighborhood soon. So far, they've been held everywhere from Northern Liberties to South Philly.

  • The April 23 run, which partners with On Running and Philadelphia Runner, will be in the University City/West Philly area.
  • They're also planning one in Manayunk this June around the neighborhood's art festival.

Follow along on the Mural Miles Instagram page.

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