Rocky music plays at the beginning. You run over the starting line already feeling like some running hero with your arms held high over your head and hands clad in red boxing gloves. “How much can you take and keep moving forward?” I can take a lot. So, why would anyone want to run ten miles on a nice Sunday morning when most of the city would rather sleep? “Cause I can’t sing and dance” that’s why.
Since Broad Street divides Philadelphia, the city and its public transportation system have to accommodate almost 40,000 runners and city residents while this main artery is shut down. No one can cross the street without dodging runners, and the cars already found new spots on unfamiliar streets. The trains of the Broad Street Line continue to exhale underneath your feet with a rumble that reminds you the city is alive and breathing as you inhale and take another step forward.
To enter the Broad Street Run, runners register for a lottery in February as individuals or as a group. I decided to create a group to ensure that everyone who wanted to run could get into the race, and then runners could sign up on their own and pay separately. I highly recommend this route if you’d like to run with your friends because either all of you get in, or you don’t. Lucky for us, we won the Broad Street lottery.
The logistics of a point to point race are always tricky. I decided to car pool to the finish area and take the Broad Street Line to the start, which worked out perfectly for arriving at the start with more than an hour to spare–we ate our PB&J sandwiches on the train and napped in our seats (yes, we had seats!). However, it took hours to get out of the parking lot after we were all finished running. I’m not kidding. We sat in our parking space for over a half hour before moving into the line of traffic. Next time, it’s the trains for us! Phil stayed with the car while Irene, Brittany, and I took the train to City Hall only to discover that the next train on the regional rails just left, leaving us to wait an hour for the next train. We took Uber instead. This is why you shouldn’t be like me: just take the trains.
Trains and automobiles aside, this is the nation’s largest ten miler, and it is a giant block party with DJs, live singers and bands, and spectators cheering for you for ten miles straight. Philadelphia really knows how to welcome runners and how to treat them right. I felt like a winner and kept the Rocky theme song playing in my head the whole time because I run to keep moving forward.