Philly Broad Street Run Lottery Sucks


The Philly Broad Street Run lottery sucks. I received an email today about a lottery system being implemented due to the overwhelming amount of “runners” who wish to compete in the Broad Street Run. Last year there were 34,058 runners who competed which is a huge amount and makes this one of the biggest road races in America. The email stated something that I agree 100% with:

“After considerable amount of research and discussion, it has been decided that the Blue Cross Broad Street Run will be using a lottery system to select the 2013 race participants. This decision was not made lightly and will help us continue to be a race for all levels of RUNNERS. At this point, I must stress that this is a ROAD RACE. Walkers are strongly discouraged from entering this event. “

Obviously what happened with this race is that too many non-runners were taking the place of actual people who want to run seriously. Let me just go over my thinking on this topic. First thing I want to mention is that runs have turned into leisurely strolls and talking amongst friends. The hobby joggers have come out in full force. As this usually has no effect whatsoever on me (aside from the award ceremony being delayed), for a race of this magnitude it is a big deal. The term 5k RACE no longer has any meaning. My opinion on the Broad Street Run (it should be changed to race) is that everyone should complete the race in 1 hour 40 minutes. If you can’t do 10 10 minute miles, you aren’t physically capable of completing this race and taking a spot of someone who is.

NOTE: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN’T DO A 10 MINUTE MILE, THEY JUST AREN’T READY FOR THIS RACE. A 10 minute mile would probably require a consistent light jog. If you need to walk for a baby 10 mile run, you aren’t ready for this race. 20,064 people completed the race under 1:40 last year which would eliminate 14,000 people from last year’s race. That seems like a more reasonable number and would allow for plenty of people on the cusp and thousands of people who deserve to be allowed to run. The ceiling could even be upped to allow for people to the maximum amount of allotted runners which is 34,000.

I personally think it sucks that I could potentially get skipped over for this race. I’ve done it the last 4 years and I find it to be one of the best courses and perhaps the fastest race with the most competition that allows me to set personal bests. A time ceiling keeps out the people who are doing it for fun. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with doing races for fun but it turns an already wimpy sport into a laughing stock. This isn’t just some 5k where everyone wants to have a good time (nice pun). This is a prestigious event that has become watered down by the magnitude of “runners”. Serious runners should not have to worry about getting in because of some lottery. And perhaps their system will guarantee all fast runners but that’s not what I expect from a lottery.

The obvious response to this is how do you know who to allow? Anyone can say they are going to run 1:40. Simple answer, prove it. What did you run at the Broad St last year? What is your best in a ten mile run? I’m not saying that it has to be a strict guideline but the idea is to keep out the riff raff and turn this race into an actual race and not a social event. It obviously bothers me that I have a chance of not getting in due to the lottery and this is my suggestion to make sure I get in. Selfish perhaps, but I write what I feel and knowing that some slob can sign up and take my spot doesn’t make me happy.

By | 2013-03-15T03:00:42+00:00 January 23rd, 2013|Running, Sports|6 Comments


  1. Mark January 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I hate when I run local 5ks and women, old dudes, and children will insist on standing in front of me at the starting line and then sprint the first 200 m of the race.

  2. tc January 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    My times are always off by multiple seconds because I won’t run over little children who aren’t supposed to be there.

  3. Sam January 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Agree on all counts. Also agree with the comment above mine. Local 5ks are perfect for hobby joggers (a good term by the way). Broad Street, half marathons, and marathons are for people who want to physically challenge themselves and if you can’t complete one 10 mile run without walking you’re sure as hell not ready to race one.

    There’s no problem with having people walk during some races (although if you’re going to ‘race’ you should be prepared to not walk) but the serious runners should not be penalized and not allowed to run because some 2 hour flat dude has gone on 12 runs in the past month and is totally ready to conquer the 10 mile run.

  4. admin January 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    One more thought on this post that just heats me up more. I just booked 5 miles on a treadmill in the basement of my apartment complex in 29:15 (the treadmill may not be entirely accurate but it’s not far off) at 8pm. No hobby jogger deserves my place in this race. This isn’t a race I sign up for, this is a race I believe in and what matters to me in my life. I don’t work out for the fun of it. I’m the person who should represent races like these because of my dedication towards fitness, my body, and the spirit of competing. The lottery is baloney.

  5. Brookes January 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I agree with your thoughts. But – would a race like this be financially sustainable without the costumed runners, trotters, etc? Broad Street was never conceived (at least to my understanding) as an “elite” race – but it is certainly becoming one given the swelling scope and its unique distance (relative to other major races/runs worldwide).

    Does transforming Broad Street into yet another heavily capped and scrutinized “elite” course derail its initial purpose – which I understand to be a municipal “celebration” of running. A course just long enough for the layman to enter and be a challenge, just long enough to push experienced runners and just “parade” enough to engage the spectators Philadelphia envies on courses in Boston, NYC and London.

    There needs to be corral systems in place to activate more serious runners, but I imagine most marathoners would roll their eyes hearing people defending the sanctity of certain distances while devaluing others. As IronMan participants would scoff at marathoners…etc…
    Tight qualifying times for proven runners. Let the rest fall in love with and engage the sport.

  6. admin January 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Simple solution. Anyone under my time can pay normal fees, everyone over who wants participate +50.

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