Broad Street Run: Living Up to the Hype
We list a few Mt. Airy results.
You hear so much about the Broad Street Run in Philly that you sometimes wonder if it's going to really be all that.
It's just another race, you say. Sure, it may seem awesome in the moment, but the real reason it's so popular is because of a domino effect—because enough people have told other people that it's incredible that everyone just seems to believe it. And maybe there's too much hype. Maybe your expectations are so sky-high by the time you're ready to run that there's no chance of them being met.
Those were some of my thoughts heading into my first Broad Street Run. But those fears proved to be gloriously unfounded.
That's because the crowd picks you up and carries you to the finish line. To everyone who's ever spectated a race, or to people who were out there yesterday—being loud and wild can really make a difference for us runners. Sure, there might be times when runners are in so much pain that they don't want to hear anyone yelling at them and want to just focus on themselves. But cheering, for the most part, is a positive thing.
Yesterday's spectators knew that. From the track/cross-country teams handing out water in South Philly to District Attorney Seth Williams giving out free high fives around mile 8 (I managed to snag one), the crowd was stellar, and at certain, short moments made the race feel at certain small moments like it being held on a fast, slick sheet of ice.
But any race has its trying times (headwind just south of City Hall? Yeah, no thanks), and maybe the ice metaphor came to mind because I've been watching far too much playoff hockey lately. Still, the race's fast, flat conditions, combined with a perfectly overcast and cool day for running, helped lots of us run our fastest 10-mile times ever.
And hearing church services going on at places of worship along Philly's main drag made the race feel like it was really part of the city's fabric, and that it wasn't disrupting the regular flow of life here. Now, that's partially just a pipe dream of mine—I'm sure lots of people were inconvenienced by Broad Street's closure—but it felt good to hear it in the moment.
It's also a race that encourages city officials to come out in an attempt to show residents that they, too, care about the runners (witness Williams' appearance). Mayor Michael Nutter spoke at its beginning, saying that he wants to make Broad Street the biggest 10-mile race in the world (the Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C. might have it beat right now), and was followed by Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis (who has spoken in Mt. Airy in the past).
It makes sense that they would do that. It was a veritable sea of humanity running down Broad Street, and seeing the filled subway trains, the pre-race port-o-potty traffic jams and the people walking around Sunday afternoon proudly wearing their souvenir race t-shirts made you feel a certain kinship with everyone around you. In the end, it was nothing short of an emotional experience.
Not that it brought tears to my eyes or anything.
The race also attracted more than a few Mt. Airy runners. Here are results from a few of them. If you also ran the race, put your time in the comments section and we'll add it into the article promptly.
- Helen Cheung finished second in her age group (females 35-39) with her time of 1:02:58—good for a 6:18 pace per mile over the course of the race.
- Dante Zappala wasn't far behind—he finished with a time of 1:03:57.
- Leo Strupczewski, who qualified for an ran the Boston Marathon in 2011, has recently been working his way back from injury. His time of 1:18:01 was good for a 7:48 pace throughout.
- Perennial triathlete Kevin Peter ran a 1:18:22, which allowed him to sneak into the top 200 in his age group (males 45-49). He finished 199th in that division.
- Weavers Way Human Resources Manager and Broad Street first-timer Jon Roesser said before the race that he had been suckered into doing it by a friend. I'm sure he's not regretting his decision after running a 1:50:49.
- Longtime Mt. Airy Patch contributor Kim Surkan was also a first-timer. "It was only the second race I've ever tried," Surkan wrote in the comments on this article. Well done, Kim. You finished in 2:07:36.