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It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to write about running, but not like this. It was supposed to be about sitting in a room full of Ethiopians as Lelisa Desisa – undoubtedly without incredible support from his countryman, Gebre Gebremariam – outkicked Micah Kogo, the Kenyan dark horse, to own Boylston Street by five seconds. It was supposed to be about the eruption that ensued for this superstar in the making. It was even supposed to be about the rousing applause they gave for Rita Jeptoo as she outlasted Bekoji native, Meseret Hailu, in the final rounds of a bout that saw the East African chase pack overcome a minute-plus gap, established far too unwittingly by a naïve, young thoroughbred (and while we’re at it, why not the additional recognition they gave to Shalane Flanagan and Jason Hartmann for their respectable 4th place finishes in either race). That kind of appreciation might defy expectations for a running rivalry that was dubbed by one of the race commentators as the “Yankees/Red Sox” of Africa.

 

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Making a Bad Situation Great: Runners Shine in Spite of 2012 New York City Marathon Cancellation

Good buddy and running community legend Bart Yasso regularly comments on how much he loves runners. I agree on so many levels. Of course, I’m a runner myself, so it might make painfully obvious sense to some that I would make such a statement. But were it not for the many outstanding characteristics that runners, as a general whole, embody, I’m not sure I would have stuck with the sport this long. What I have witnessed this weekend, from 7,000 miles away, has taken that affection to a whole ‘nother level.

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Broad Street Run 10 Miler - SOLD OUT

Philadelphia’s marquee road race opened its virtual doors to registrants at 10 A.M. this morning. Celebrating its 33rd year, the 10 mile running event is held each year on the first Sunday in May and is essentially the unofficial start of spring in Philadelphia. Cherry Blossoms will have bloomed, the Phillies will be a month into their season, and 30,000 runners will trek the point-to-point course contained exclusively along Philly’s main thoroughfare, covering the same ground as the Mummers and the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. The day carries with it the vibe of a block party more so than a running event (as these things should, naturally). It’s a celebration that kicks off one of the best times of year to be in Philadelphia.

The race has become so popular in recent years that organizers recently enacted a registration cap, which seems to have only enhanced the allure of this unique event. Two years ago the cap was reached months before race day. Last year it took a matter of days. Today’s registration lasted a mere six hours.

I first participated in the Broad Street Run in 2006. It was my first road race and is pretty much responsible for a complete lifestyle shift centered around a love for the sport. That year, less than 15,000 participated and one could, if one so desired, register to run at the race expo. This year’s race will be my 7th consecutive BSR, and my last before heading to Ethiopia. I already considered it a most fitting bookend, but given the historical significance of this year for the race, I can’t imagine a better way to go out.

Organizers have announced that a lottery will be held to allow an additional 2,500 runners into the race. I would not be surprised if by 2015, the year in which I would next able to participate in this event, the entire process is lottery driven.

What you call a Mud Run…
…I call Sunday.

What you call a Mud Run…

…I call Sunday.

Running a Marathon Without Ever Touching the Ground

My father regularly talks about the first time he got to march in the annual Mummer’s Parade, an ancient tradition in the cannon of Philadelphia experiences that marks the first day of each year. His eyes sparkle when he recalls the euphoria and elation that swelled throughout his glorious day on Broad Street. He always remarks that his feet never touched the ground between South Philly and City Hall. You might even observe an act of mild levitation each time he tells the tale.

If my forecasting abilities are even passable, I would predict a feeling of the same sort as I trek the five Boroughs this coming Sunday morning. New York may very well be the first marathon I get to run without the benefit of me feet ever touching the ground, from the Staten Island start to the Central Park Finish.