Thursday, November 26, 2015

How to be a Broad Street Run superfan

Beth Wallace, a dietitian at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roommates as they battle to beat each other in the Broad Street Run. In this fifth installment, she sets provides advice for the fans.

How to be a Broad Street Run superfan


Beth Wallace, a dietitian at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roommates as they battle to beat each other in the Broad Street Run. In this fifth installment, she sets provides advice for the fans. Check out all of our Broad Street Run coverage at

If Philly is known for anything, it’s cheesesteaks, Rocky, and  serious sports fans. As the biggest race in Philadelphia is right around the corner, I would be remiss not to acknowledge one very important piece of the experience: the fans.

So I hand the podium over to Bridget; my dear friend, running companion, and captain of my cheer squad, for her tips on:

How to be a Broad Street Run Super Fan

Rule #1: No Whining

It does not matter how hot, rainy or windy it is outside on race day, you are here to smile and cheer your heart out. The runner is enduring the same weather you are AND running 10 miles. They win, hands down. No complaining.

Rule #2: Be Prepared

Before the gun goes off, find out what your runner is wearing so they can spot them, and tell them where you will be so they can look for you. Be SPECIFIC; instead of "around Broad and Spruce" say "I'll be standing on the southeast corner of Broad & Spruce in a red sweatshirt". In Beth's case, I'll be sure to look for a brightly colored tank top blazing out front, with the guys looking slightly winded behind her. 

Rule #3: Timing is Everything

Don’t be the guy that misses their girlfriend at mile six, causing her to cry for the last four miles because you didn’t see her. Ask your runner how long they think it will take to run the whole race and estimate how long it will take them to run each mile so you know when to get to your cheer spot. Leave a cushion of 20 minutes to account for the time it takes to cross the starting line. Get there early — this way you'll be ready for rule #4.

Rule #4: Add Some Flair

One of the best parts of racing is watching everything surrounding the event as you pass by. A classic way to add some spectator flair is a sign-and the funny ones are the best. Our favorites include:

“Don’t stop, people are watching”

“Worst parade ever”

“I’m a stranger, but I’m so proud of you”

Option flare items include pom-poms, crazy hats, and/or cowbells.  

Rule #5: Have Fun- and Lie

Your racer is out there somewhere, and for five glorious seconds, you'll spot them, shout for them, and then send them on their way. It’s easily their best five seconds of a race (besides the finish line). This is also the part where it’s completely ok to lie. Tell them they're looking strong, that they've never looked better, and that the finish line is all theirs. They appreciate it even if they're too tired to acknowledge it.

See you out there. 

Beth Wallace contributes regularly to's Healthy Kids blog. Read her previous installments about racing down Broad Street:

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Charlotte Sutton Health and Science Editor, Philadelphia Inquirer
Tom Avril Inquirer Staff Writer, heart health and general science
Stacey Burling Inquirer Staff Writer, neuroscience and aging
Marie McCullough Inquirer Staff Writer, cancer and women's health
Don Sapatkin Inquirer Staff Writer, public health, infectious diseases and substance abuse
Justin D'Ancona
David Becker, M.D. Board certified cardiologist, Chestnut Hill Temple Cardiology
Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D. President, Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates
Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. Cardiothoracic surgeon in the Philadelphia area
Amy J. Reed, M.D., Ph.D. Anesthesiologist and Surgical Intensivist in the Philadelphia Area
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