Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why do you run Broad Street? A 10-year reunion for 5 friends

In 2003, five teenage girls met at their first cross-country practice at Mount Saint Joseph Academy. They'll celebrate 10 years of friendship Sunday.

Why do you run Broad Street? A 10-year reunion for 5 friends

The 34th annual Broad Street Run is a 10-year reunion for a group of 5 friends who met in 2003 at Mount Saint Joseph´s Academy.
The 34th annual Broad Street Run is a 10-year reunion for a group of 5 friends who met in 2003 at Mount Saint Joseph's Academy.

Five teenage girls met as freshmen at their first cross-country practice at Mount Saint Joseph’s Academy in Flourtown back in 2003. They were all from different towns, new to the school and nervous, just looking to fit in.

What happened with them has happened so many times, in so many places. A bond was formed, friendships that may well last a life time.

“Back in our high school days, we bonded over Coach [Karen] Orr's merciless workouts and on long runs at Valley Green,” said Genevieve O’Mara, “and that bond has remained strong ever since!”

“I have such vivid, vivid memories of our high school days at the Mount and the most fun and hilarious times with these 4 girls,” said Deirdre Barr. “Lunch periods reviewing the past weekend’s fun and planning the next, grueling track practices, cramming for tests… the list goes on and on.”

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But running was what brought them together, and what keeps them together.

They all went to different colleges, from Dartmouth to Notre Dame.  Three live and work in New York, one in Boston, and one locally. They don’t see nearly enough of one another, but the bond remains strong. They have decided to run together – just like back in the day – in this year’s Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

“It’s amazing to me that we’ve remained so close,” said Meredith Taylor. “My college friends always tell me they wish they had [the friendships] I do.”

“Running was so central to our lives in high school,” said Chelsea Clark, who lives in Lower Gywnedd. “But I can’t remember the last time we all ran together!”

“The further we get from our days at the Mount,” said Jen Havard, “the more difficult it becomes to get five of us in one place. Being in different cities, jobs and places in our lives has made it more challenging, but each of us knows that friendship like this is hard to come by."

None of the women could recall who had the idea to reunite. “We were out to brunch at the holidays—that’s really the only time each year we’re all together,” said Clark. “I know it started out as a joke.”

Then they realized 2013 would mark 10 years since they’d all met. “And then it wasn’t a joke,” Clark continued. “Running a race would be the perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of our friendship.”

The celebration could only take place in one spot.

“Broad Street has always been on my radar,” said O’Mara. “Thankfully, Meredith made the executive decision to go ahead and register us as a group.”

“Philly is still home for each of us,” added Clark. “It just seemed fitting to come back to run the city’s most iconic race.”

Another point of agreement among the quintet: they’re not exactly in what they consider “running shape.”

“I’m excited we have the chance to see each other,” said Jen Harvard, “but I think we’re all a little apprehensive of running 10 miles.”

“We could have run a 5K, or a shorter race and still had fun,” said Clark. “But we were looking for something challenging enough to show our commitment to each other, and celebrate what got us there—running. What better place than Broad Street?”

The plan is to congregate at Jen Havard’s childhood home for a pasta dinner Saturday night, then all meet on the starting line Sunday morning – and go for a drink afterward.

For 24 hours they’ll be back together, whole, as a group—like nothing ever changed.


Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
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Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Ellen Casey, MD Physician with Drexel University Sports Medicine
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician for Drexel, Philadelphia Univ., Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Gavin McKay, NASM-CPT Founder/Franchisor, Unite Fitness
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
Kelly O'Shea Senior Health Producer, Philly.com
Tracey Romero Sports Medicine Editor, Philly.com
David Rubenstein, M.D. Team Orthopedist for 76ers; Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
Thomas Trojian MD, CAQSM, FACSM Associate Chief of the Division of Sports Medicine at Drexel University
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