10 tips for Broad Street Run Newbies
The Broad Street Run is an iconic Philadelphia institution. It’s an easy course at a great time of year with lots of enthusiastic spectators. I am no elite athlete but I have done the BSR for the last 4 years and have a few half marathons and a full under my (fuel) belt. If you’ve gotten a spot in the lottery but have never taken part in this piece of Philly history, read on:
1) Dressing for the BSR: check the weather. It will probably be cold when you start. Bring a throwaway sweatshirt with you to toss to the side when the race begins. These clothes are all donated to charity.
Pro tip: don’t wear the BSR race shirt you got at the expo. It’s considered bad luck to wear it before you’ve actually finished the race and is a bad idea to wear something you haven’t worn during training (and it makes it obvious that you’re a newb).
2) Prepare yourself for pre-race madness: part of the magic is the endlessly long line of cars for the Sports Arena exit off of 76, the sardine-packed train from the lot, the chilly masses fighting, shoulder-to-shoulder, to get in and out of the high school where the lines for each of the porta-potties is about 167 deep.
Pro tip: bring extra toilet paper.
3) Crowd source: talk to friends and family about being your cheer squad along the course. I guarantee that this will make the race 250% more fun and you’ll be faster for it. Figure out the intersection and side of the street where they’ll be stationed so you can look forward to a familiar face. Let them know what you’re wearing (another reason not to wear the BSR shirt). Be sure to high-five, hug, whoop, or otherwise acknowledge those who braved the masses to support you for the 2 seconds you spend zipping past.
Pro tip: smile and high five the little kids.
4) Identity yourself: wear your race bib on the front of your shirt so you can be identified to access the pictures a few days after the race.
Pro tip: Be proud. The way you look when you’re working that hard is damn sexy. The way you smell is a different matter entirely.
5) Run with manners: move over to the sidewalk if you are walking and apologize if you bump someone.
Pro tip: Get on the sidewalks for extra space if the course is too densely packed.
6) Hydrate: There are lots of water stations along the course and each is fairly long so don’t worry about grabbing water from the first volunteer you see there. If you want to keep running, get in the middle of the street or onto a sidewalk behind the water stations.
Pro tip: thank the water volunteer who hands you the water.
7) Taking care of business: There are porta-potties along the course but there will be significant lines at almost all of them. If you care about your time, hit the john before you start.
Pro tip: Some may disagree with me but, if you’re a guy, find the wall of guys with their backs to the race and join in. Leave the toilets for the women and those with, um, bigger issues.
8) The finish line: It’s farther than you think. It’s cruel. You have to run a good deal past the front gates of the Navy Yard before you reach the finish line so hold your sprinting until you see the overhead BSR sign.
Pro tip: Take it all in and smile for the camera (look up for it).
9) Post race: get out of those smelly, wet clothes. Have a checked bag or ask a non-running friend to bring you a bag with a change of clothes (flip flops, shirt, pants, sweatshirt, bra, deodorant, and undies).
Pro tip: The medal stays on; wear it the rest of the day. You’ve earned it.
10) Navigating the Navy Yard: the maps lie and the cell phone reception (calling & texting) is terrible. If you plan to meet up with people, use a permanent location, not a booth since they won’t necessarily be where they are supposed to be.
Pro tip: I’ll post on the LDP Facebook Page where you can find me to brag about your time post-race!
“The gun goes off and everything changes… the world changes… and nothing else really matters.”
~ Patti Sue Plummer