Nearly 40,000 people channeled their inner Rocky on Sunday morning for the 38th annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Participants ran 10 miles from North Philadelphia to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, cheered by sign-holding, bell-jingling friends and family along the way. Runners wore custom T-shirts representing teams and charities, and picked up a bevy of promotional products after crossing the finish line.
Local nonprofit organization Fred’s Footsteps sponsored a team of runners and also gave out free flip flops to all participants. The organization provides financial support to families caring for seriously ill and injured children. “The flip flops are a new venture, but the runners love to kick their sweaty shoes off and rest their feet,” said Christine Lobley, executive director of Fred’s Footsteps.
Other vendors handed out branded T-shirts, rally towels, sunglasses and inflatable beach balls. Runners were given Blue Cross logoed plastic bags full of fruit and snacks to replenish themselves.
Ambler, Pennsylvania native Robert Kim ran for the first time, finishing in an hour and 20 minutes. “My friends do it so this year I figured I’d try,” Kim said. “I did 5Ks every couple of days to prepare. It was pretty good and I’m looking forward to next year.”
Around the 8 mile marker, Team in Training representatives smashed inflatable boom sticks together, motivating their exhausted teammates. The group raised almost $100,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by recruiting members to train 14 weeks for the run.
"We have 120 participants this year, each one raising $500 to participate,” said Coach Jack Heely. “We’ve been cheering on everybody as they come. It’s not the best day for spectators, but that means it’s a great day for runners. This is a great Philadelphia tradition. If you can’t be inspired by this, nothing is going to get you.”
Dominic Korir of Kenya was the men’s winner of the race, finishing in an unofficial time of 47 minutes and 38 seconds. Askale Merachi of Ethiopia was the women’s winner, finishing in an unofficial time of 53:49. Each earned the top prize of $3,000.
For two days before the race, runners gathered at the Health and Wellness Expo inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center to receive their race bib, logoed T-shirt, ChronoTrack timing device and information packet. Sponsored by the Einstein Healthcare Network, the event featured dozens of vendors offering T-shirts, hats, water bottles, drawstring bags, mugs and more products. Race organizing company CGI Racing gave swag bags to attendees that took photos at the booth and posted them on social media with the hashtag #LoveRunPhilly.