5 Spring Races to Try If You Didn’t Make It Into the 2014 Broad Street Run

The starting line of the ODDyssey Half Marathon // Photo via Facebook

The starting line of the ODDyssey Half Marathon // Photo via Facebook

If you weren’t selected in the 2014 Broad Street Run lottery, aren’t happy with any of the options I’ve already given you for how to get in the race now, and have been sitting in the mythical corner of the Internet pouting about your springtime race prospects, I have two words for you: just stop.


Broad Street may be the biggest race of Philly's spring season, but we have plenty of other excellent race options that you may not have thought of. These smaller races don't require a lottery to get in—because I know at this point you are SO SICK of those things—and they're in some really cool locations you probably haven't run a while (or ever).

And so I give you, sad, dejected Broad Street Run lottery rejects, a list of five other options to fill your race calendar with. I've tried to keep the race distances close(ish) to Broad Street's 10 miles for a similar race and training experience. I'll be awaiting your thank you notes and gifts of gratitude.

» LOVE Run Half Marathon
Race date: March 30th

A first-time race from the local race management company CGI Racing, which also puts on the Unite Half Marathon at Rutgers and the New Jersey State Triathlon, among other races, the LOVE Run Half will take runners past some of the most beloved landmarks in the city: the Art Museum, Independence Mall, City Hall and more. All runners will get some fun perks, including customizable vanity bibs (like a vanity license plate with your own message, but a race bib), free race photos, tech shirts, finish medals and a commemorative coffee mug, which will come in handy at the coffee and hot chocolate bar at the finish line. Registration: $96 through February 27th, then it goes up from there.

» April Fools Half Marathon
Race date: April 6th

This Atlantic City race, now in its third year, features a fast, flat course (sound familiar, Broad Streeters?) with ocean views pretty much the entire time. It starts on the wood planks of the Atlantic City boardwalk and continues on beachfront roads through Ventnor and Margate, down to Longport and back.  If you're not up for the half-marathon distance, there are also 11K and 7K races the day before. Registration: $90 for the half, $60 for the 7K and 11K.

» Hot Chocolate 15K
Race date: April 6th

As the name implies, this first-time race in Philly features chocolate—and lots of it. Runners who complete the 9.3-mile course (or a 5K option, if that's more your bag) will be greeted by a chocolate-themed post-race party at the finish line. And they're bringing out the works: hot chocolate, of course, plus fondue, chocolate snacks and more. All runners will get a Hot Chocolate 15K fleece. Registration: $64 for the 15K, $40 for the 5K.

» Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-Mile Run
Race date: April 27th

Don't worry, my math skills aren't that bad. I'm perfectly aware that this race at Valley Forge National Historical Park is half the distance of the Broad Street Run—but hear me out. This race falls exactly one week before Broad Street, so a lot of Broad Streeters looking to PR (including 6ABC meteorologist/insanely awesome runner Cecily Tynan) use this race as a tune-up for the real deal. That means, if you run it, you'll be surrounded by Broad Street runners who are brimming with all that pre-race/race-day energy. Plus, if you really want to get in an even 10 miles, you can always run another lap on the five-mile loop before you pack it in—which, you know, is exactly what Tynan did last year because she's bad-ass like that. Registration: $35.

» ODDyssey Half Marathon
Race date: June 8th

When's the last time you ran 13.1 miles in a costume, to music played by live bands, with zany optional challenges along the way? Yeah, that's what I thought. That's the gist of the ODDyssey race, which will hit Philly for the fifth year this June. Runners get finisher's medals (with built-in beer openers, I should add) and pint glasses, which they can use at the beer garden at the party-like finish line festival. This year's beer garden will feature free beer from Sly Fox Brewing Company. Registration: $60 through the end of February, then rising incrementally to $80.

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  • fillyfit

    How do you forget the Bucks County 10 miler alternative on the same day?

    • Pat McCloskey

      and the Bucks County Ten Miler is MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU themed ( gold bikini optional)

  • Michelle K.

    For the Hot Chocolate 15K, use promo code PHILLYMUG4 for a free Travel Mug with packet pick up.

  • Narb Runner

    Another great 5 mile run to add to this list is the Narberth CF Run. It’s the week before Broad Street which makes It the perfect warm up run. Test yourself on this somewhat hilly course. Great town participation out on the course http://www.narberthrun.com. Try this hidden gem, i guarantee you wont be disapointed.

  • Jacqui

    I’ll put in another vote for ODDyssey! It is very well-run, not too big like a lot of local races (especially compared to Broad Street), and has a gorgeous course. Definitely check it out :) Hot Chocolate was fun today too, so if you’re reading this in 2015, I highly recommend that one too!