10 Things You Need to Know Before the Broad Street Run

You've trained your body — now prepare your mind for the Philadelphia Broad Street Run.

Photograph by Flickr/trpnblies7

This post was originally published in April of 2015.

Now that your training is pretty much done, it’s time to focus on race day, because a little planning ahead pays off big time come the big day. That’s why we asked the Run215 community: What are the top ten things every runner needs to know before running Broad Street?

Below, see what your fellow Philly runners had to say — and then prepare yourself for all the big crowds and endorphin-powered vibes on race day.

1. Get there early and be prepared to wait.

The race organizers do a fantastic job of managing everything but getting over 30,000 people to the start of a race takes time. Be prepared to be packed like sardines in the subway on your way there, wait 30 minutes for the toilet once you arrive, and 15 minutes just to check your bag at the bag drop (which must be done by 7:45 a.m.).

2. Bring a starting-line prep bag.

The starting line is crazy, with wall-to-wall people all nervously waiting around for the race to start. Here’s what you want to bring: a disposable plastic bag with toilet paper, extra clothes you’re willing to throw away at the start, water, and food. Make sure everything is disposable so you can just trash it right before the race.

3. Have a finish-line plan.

Have a meeting spot for friends and family to gather when you finish. Due to the large amount of people, you might not have cell service around the finish line. So take a look at a map of the finish-line area, then pick a spot and a ballpark time you’ll meet your friends and family.

4. Be courteous and respectful of your fellow runners.

Start in the correct corral and please don’t stop right after you cross the finish line. Keep it movin’ so other runners can cross the finish line, too. During the race, don’t stop to take selfies, and make sure your music isn’t so loud that you can’t hear folks around you. Better yet, unplug the headphones and enjoy the cheers of the crowd.

5. Plan your water breaks.

You can find a list of water stations along the course here. Know when they’re coming up, and don’t suddenly dash across Broad Street, cutting people off to get water at the last minute. Instead, plan ahead by slowly making your way to either side of Broad Street for water and if you must stop to drink, be sure to move off Broad Street onto the sidewalk.

6. Be nice to volunteers.

There are loads of volunteers out there making sure you have a great race day. Be sure to say thank you to the police officers, water station volunteers, and anyone volunteering their time.

7. Save some energy for the finish.

You’ll need strength for those last three miles so you want to make sure you save some energy. Think of 6.5 miles, rather than mile five, as the halfway point.

8. Don’t get too ahead of yourself!

Remember: You’re not done once you can cross the Navy Yard sign — you still have a quarter mile to go. But you’re almost there!

9. Don’t forget to smile when you cross the finish line.

There are photographers along the way snapping pictures of you. Perhaps the most important one is at the finish. Make sure you smile so you have a good photo memory — even if the last thing you feel like doing is smiling.

10. Have fun!

Broad Street is such a great experience, especially if it’s your first time, so be sure to soak it all in. Make sure to look around at the crowds; there are tons of bands, cheerleaders, and people just out there to cheer you (yes, you!) on — and lots of amazing signs, too. Focusing on the crowds will allow you to save your mental energy for the last few miles where you’ll need to stay on pace. Plus, it’ll help you have a good time while you pound the pavement.


Cory Smith is a Philadelphia based running coach; founder of Run Your Personal Best, an online running-coaching business and former head cross country coach at Penn State Brandywine. He is a USA Track and Field-certified Endurance Level 2 coach and a 4:03 miler. As a student athlete at Villanova, Cory was a multiple-time NCAA Division One Regional qualifier and two-time National Championship qualifier. Contact Cory at cory@runyourpersonalbest.com. Read all of Cory’s posts for Be Well Philly here.

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