I have a soft spot in my heart for the Broad Street Run. It’s a 10-miler through the city, down Broad Street, as the name implies. Not only is the course fast and easy, but this feels like a real Philly event. A number of Philly sports mascots make an appearance; you’re likely to spot Ed Rendell high fiving runners along the course; you run past Temple, City Hall, and the stadiums; you cross the finish line past the Navy Yard, where you’re greeted with water ice and soft pretzels; and then you hop on the BSL to head home.
Broad Street also was my first real race. It was the first distance I did over 5k, and really got me started with running. I remember how hard I trained that first year, and how nervous I was for race day. I remember standing at the starting line with 25,000+ other runners and getting goosebumps as they blared the Rocky soundtrack. I loved every minute of that race. Going into my third year, it remains my favorite annual running event.
Unfortunately, it seems like everyone else in the tri-state area has discovered how awesome this race is, and this year it was harder than ever to register. I’ve had the registration date on my calendar since November, as Broad St organizers had a booth at the marathon expo with the sole purpose of telling everyone when registration would be open. While the organizers did a great job of getting the word out on the reg date, they failed to consider that they’d need a website to support 30,000 runners all clamoring to sign up right at 10 am. Luckily, I got to register myself a day early, having run the race before and being a Blue Cross insurance member. However, I was still at the mercy of the registration system on Wednesday morning as I had offered to sign up a friend for the race. Not everyone can sit on their computers at work clicking refresh on the IBX site repeatedly. Like most of my runner friends who logged on at the designated time, registering for this race was extremely frustrating. It took TWO HOURS of refreshing, filling out the same form over and over again, and trying different browsers until we were able to get through. The system was way over capacity. The race sold out in 5 hours (it took 4 days last year). And I have friends who have run this race before and were shut out this year due to the insanity of the registration process.
On the one hand, I love that there are so many people getting healthy and taking up such a wonderful hobby. On the other hand, it’s disappointing to me that so many real runners were shut out of this race to accomodate tons of people who will likely not take this race seriously and signed up just to be cool and say they ran Broad St. Due to the overwhelming response, the organizers set aside 2500 spots, which will be assigned via lottery. Sounds a lot like the NYC Marathon to me. Could Broad Street be going the way of the majors? At this rate, we could be looking at qualified registrations next year!
Good luck to all my friends who made the cut! And to those who didn’t make it, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.