The Blue Cross Broad Street Run in Philadelphia is one of my favorite races. I’ve run in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Last year, I was burned out and spectated, but I do plan to run again this year. Spectating always brings a new perspective to a race, so it was fun to join my mother in law, as well as thousands cheering along the way. The Broad Street Run 10-mile race itself is enormous and the biggest 10-mile road race in the country.
40,000 runners packed into 10 miles is a lot different than 50,000 packed into 26.2 like the NYCM.
Many locals asked if I could put together a few tips about racing.
Tips for the Philadelphia Broad Street Run:
Get to Broad Street Run Early:
This could be a tip for any race. Of course, you don’t want to miss your goal race! Even though there are plenty of bathrooms at the race start and high school, it’s a big race so expect to wait in line at the start area. The race begins at 8 a.m. for the red coral. The corrals go off about 5-10 minutes apart, so most people don’t leave right at 8 am.
The transportation situation is honestly one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the entire race. If you are traveling to the start alone, it’s easiest to park at the Citizens bank stadium lots and either take the Septa line or one of the bases. There are PLENTY of subways to get all racers to the starting line. Parking is not a big deal because of all the lots, but I cannot stress how important it is to Broad Street Run early.
Subway trains begin running at 5:30 a.m. They will even run direct express trains. If you are coming from Center City board the Walnut/Locust stop.
When I mentioned early, it is best to board a train around 6:00 a.m. It does take about 35 minutes for trains to reach the start with stops, and there will be lines for restrooms once you are there,
Don’t Forget Race Day Essentials to Broad Street Run:
I feel like this is always good advice but don’t forget everything you need. If doing a flat lay on Instagram helps you remember, then, by all means, do it. I think I need to go that route because I always forget something to local races.
Bring a Throwaway Top:
This year the weather is looking good, and maybe rainy, but it does get cold if you are waiting around in line. In 2016, it was 40 degrees and pouring rain, and it was awful to wait around! All discarded clothing is donated so you won’t feel bad. With the current weather predicted, light rain and 50s I’ll wear a light jacket to at least throw away.
Unless you are in the Red corral or an Elite, you don’t tart racing directly at 8 am:
Broad Street divides runners into corrals based on speed. The time between each corral is about 5-10 minutes so plan accordingly. Even though you may not start at 8 am, the roads are closed, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get to the start the later it gets.
If you have spectators watching, know where they are:
On a beautiful day, thousands of people spectate. It can be difficult to find your family or friends if they tell you somewhere around mile 7 or 8 (or wherever). Some notable spots at the Broad Street Run are Temple University, North Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, City Hall, and the Navy Yard.
With 40,000 people running the water stations get crowded, and most people stop to walk. Pay attention and don’t fall (believe me a tailbone injury is not fun). Around the water, stations are slippery and sticky from hydration, Gatorade, and GU.
Plan your water breaks, and you can find a list of stops here.
Don’t Stop at the Navy Yard:
Many people think the gates at the Navy yard is the finish of Broad Street Run. It’s not, and you have about a quarter of a mile to go. The quarter of a mile feels like forever but you’re almost done. If you are a spectator, refrain from saying “almost done”.
Pick a Meeting Spot at the Navy Yard:
Last year, we spent nearly 90 minutes trying to meet up with my father in law. The end can be a “dead zone” for cell service so find a spot to meet people. Make sure you have established this beforehand. There is a map of the finish line area here.
After the Race, you Will Walk:
You don’t finish right at your car and typically, I’ve had to walk between 1-2 miles to get back. No big deal, but be prepared. I remember after finishing the NYCM several years ago, my body could not handle walking the amount afterwards. In 2016, you were walking around the Navy Yard in the pouring rain.
Finally, of Course, Have Fun:
It’s running! Unless you are competing for prize money and racing Broad Street 10 Miler is your job, make sure to have fun. At the end of the day, it’s one of the most iconic races and the most iconic in Philadelphia.
If you are looking for the “best” races in Philadelphia: consider the Broad Street Run (May), RnR Philadelphia (September), Philadelphia Half/Marathon (November), and the Philly 10k (August).
Questions for you:
Have you ever raced the Broad Street Run?
What is the biggest race you’ve run?