The Broad Street Run Lottery Opens Monday — Here’s What You Need to Know


Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Blue Cross Broad Street Run | Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Yup, it’s that time of year again, runner friends. The Broad Street Run frenzy is about to hit, as the registration lottery, now in its fourth year, officially opens for business on Monday, February 1st. If you’re planning on running in the May 1st 10-miler, you’ll need to enter the lottery to do so.

New to the lotto process? Not to worry — here, the nine most important questions answered. 

1. What time does the Broad Street Run 2016 lottery open? 
It opens at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, February 1st. But here’s the thing: You don’t need to set your alarm for the wee pre-dawn hours to get your name in. The lottery stays open until Friday, February 12th at 11:59 p.m., and there’s no benefit to registering earlier or a penalty for registering later; according to race officials, everyone has an equal shot.

2. Where will I be able to register?
The registration link will appear here on Monday.

3. When will the winners be announced? 
On Tuesday, February 16th, race organizers will post a list of lottery winners on broadstreetrun.com. In years past, they’ve also sent emails to the selected folks, so you can check your email (including your spam box — that’s where mine has traditionally ended up) on that date, as well.

4. How much does the race cost?
This year, registration is set at $45, a $2 increase from last year. The registration fee includes a commemorative cotton t-shirt. There will also be an optional upgrade — for an extra fee — for a nicer quality tech shirt. You’ll have the option to add it on to your race entry when you register.

Speaking of which, don’t be surprised that, in order to enter the lottery, you’ll have to provide your credit card information. Note that you’ll only be charged if you’re actually selected for the race.

5. I only want to run if my friend can run it with me. Is there any way to guarantee that if one of us is selected, we both will be?
Yep. You and your pal—or pals; up to seven of you can sign up together—can enter the lottery as a group. If the group wins the lottery, all of you gain entry; if the group does not win, you’re all out. The registration fee for each group member is $45.

Here’s how the group registration works: Pick your most responsible friend to register first. He or she can choose the group option and set up a group under a specific name for you and your pals. Once the group is set up, you can opt to join the group when you register.

In case you’re considering getting sneaky here, know that you can’t register as both an individual and part of a group to increase your odds of getting in the race. You can only register as one or the other. Sorry.

6. Are they making accommodations for veteran runners again this year? 
Of course. Actually, they’re calling them “tenured runners” this year, but it’s the same difference. If you’ve run the race for 10 years, whether consecutively or not, you can get guaranteed entry to the race.

BUT. You still need to enter the lottery between February 1st and 12th. Once the lottery winners are selected, if you’re not among them, you can email [email protected] to request your guaranteed entry. You’ll still have to pay, of course, but think of this as the Broad Street gods gift to you for being so darn loyal.

7. What’s the likelihood that I’ll get in?
As has been the case for the past few years, the race will be capped at 40,000 participants. Two years ago, 88 percent of lottery entrants secured bibs for the race, according to Philly.com, with around 4,800 people losing out. Last year, the number of losers increased to around 6,600, so runners odds were slightly less. While it’s anybody’s guess as to what your odds will be this year, I would say things are trending in the “this race gets more popular every year” direction — meaning, I wouldn’t be surprised if even more people lose out this year.

8. What happens if I sign up, get in to the race, but then realize in a couple of months that I can’t run. Am I just out $45?
Maybe — the race doesn’t issue refunds — but you have options. Beginning on March 1st, the race will open its official bib-transfer program. If you realize you’re unable to run, you can post a message on the transfer message board and see if you can find any takers. (There’s also a place to post requests for a bib if you entered the lottery but weren’t selected.) You’ll have until April 16th to complete the transfer.

Another option is to defer your registration until the 2017 race. The deferral program will run from March 1st through April 24th. Note that you won’t receive a refund for this year’s registration and you’ll be required to pay the registration fee for next year’s race, too. All the deferral does is guarantee you a spot when the lottery comes around next year.

If you’re thinking of buying your bib off of Craigslist or another website, there could be consequences. Black-market bib purchases are strictly forbidden by the Broad Street Run, and race officials say they will ban you from future races if you are caught either buying or selling your bib outside of the official channels.

9. Is there any way around the lottery?
Yes! If you sign up to run for a charity, you can dodge the lottery process altogether. There are four official race charities that provide bibs to runners in exchange for fundraising. The fundraising minimum is $500, but charity runners get a slew of other perks, including pre-race training runs, post-race massages and more. (Perks vary depending on which charity you choose.) Check out all the details on the charity partners here.

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