When I ran my first Broad Street Run I had a million thoughts after the race. The main one being how cool of a race I just ran! How unique it was to run down Broad Street like that with tens of thousands of other people, a sight I cannot imagine I could see on a regular basis.
I also had a lot of thoughts about things I wish I knew going into that run. So for you folks out there who will be running the Broad Street Run for the first time, here are some helpful tips to get you to the finish line.
- Get to the start line earlier. Over 40,000 people are expected to run the race this year. Do you know what 40,000 people at a starting line looks like? I am sure whatever you are imagining is accurate. It’s about as crowded as a packed bar during happy hour. Make sure you get to the starting line early to work through the madness and get yourself ready to go well before the gun goes off. Last year bathroom lines were 30+ people deep and waiting in these lines took forever. Trust me, you do not want to hear the race begin behind the door of a portable toilet.
- You are not done when you hit the Navy Yard. You are going to get to the Navy Yard and the amount of spectators is going to drastically increase. It will look like entering the Navy Yard is the finish line. It is not. Now is not the time to slow down and look for your medal and post race water. Keep going. You still have a while to go until the finish line. So the roars of the spectators may seem like you have finished, but do not fool yourself.
- Take a picture at some point on the course. Do you know how cool it is to look down Broad Street and see thousands of runners? It can’t be described so I won’t try. I don’t know how familiar you are with Broad Street, but this is a once in a year kind of view. On the other 364 days in the year this road is packed with cars. However on this 1 day it will be runners as far as the eye can see. Unless it is earth shattering that you race a specific time for this run, stop and get a quick picture at some point on the course. Only 40,000 people on only one day out of the year will have this opportunity. Don’t miss it. (Editors note: May we suggest a picture when you get to city hall. There’s no way you’ll ever see a scene like that again in the year. Also please be mindful of other runners on the course)
- Tell all your friends and family about the race. Race day for the Broad Street Run is indescribable. It is like the entire city of Philadelphia has come out of their homes to cheer on the runners. And with Philadelphia now ranking second only to Midtown Manhattan when it comes to people living in the heart of a city, this is a lot of people. Do not be afraid to tell your family and friends to come to the race and be a part of that atmosphere. When you pass all the Temple flags and make your way into the heart of the city you will be surprised to see how many people are out cheering. At points in the race it feels like there are more spectators than there are runners.
- Don’t be overwhelmed and enjoy the race. This race is a big deal for the city of Philadelphia. Depending who you talk to it is Philadelphia’s number one race. As a result nerves can be flying at an all time high on race day. This means you can start out too fast and either injure yourself or not leave enough energy to finish the race strong. Don’t be overwhelmed on race day. While yes you will be surrounded by 40,000+ people, at the end of the day it is just you and the miles in front of you. Take a deep breath, relax and when the gun goes off have a good time!