'Congratulations!! You did it.' Scenes from the Broad Street Run

As runners in the 39th annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run began to pour across the finish line at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on Sunday morning, Jorge Oviedo stood out from the crowd.

With his phone clutched in both hands and held high to record the moment, the 67-year-old Trentonian ran across the finish line and immediately spun around to capture the crowd.

“This is a fiesta for runners,” he said.

About an hour and 24 minutes earlier, Oviedo and 40,000 competitors started the 10-mile race in near perfect temperatures from West Fisher Avenue and headed off to the Navy Yard. Many would jump up to slap the timing banner as they crossed the finishing line. Others, near exhaustion and feeling ill, would bend over with their hands on their knees.

“I’ve been running this race for many years,” Oviedo said.

He has also run in 28 marathons, including four Philadelphia Marathons, four Boston Marathons and one in London. Running is his passion, and Broad Street is one of his favorite races, he said.

Camera icon MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
With the finish line in sight, Daniel Kemoi raises his hands in victory as he wins the men’s division of the 2018 Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

Daniel Kemoi was the overall winner of the race with a time of 45:43 minutes

“I did not expect to win,” said Kemoi, who moved to Elkton, Md., recently from Kenya. He had already managed to run in a 5K earlier last week.

“There are so many people so you cannot say ‘I am going to win,’” he added, noting the large crowd size and formidable competition.

Sophy Jepchirchir, of Chapel Hill, N.C., was the first woman to finish with a time of 46:57.64. She was immediately swarmed by aides and given water as she began to wobble just after crossing.

Tony Nogueira, of Glen Ridge, Bergen County, crossed first in the wheelchair division.

Camera icon MICHAEL BRYANT
Steven Baumann kicks up his heels as he nears the finish line at the Navy Yard.

“Holy moly,” said 6ABC meteorologist Adam Joseph, shortly after crossing the finish line. “It was warm today.”

Joseph, who also competed in the 2017 Chicago Marathon, was happy with his time.

“Being a new dad, my training days are shorter,” Joseph said. His plan was to head home and show off the finisher medal to his two toddlers who were waiting at home.

Joseph wasn’t the only television reporter in the race.

Retired CBS police reporter Walt Hunter ran in memory of  Thomas J. Gibbons, a former Inquirer reporter who died of brain cancer in March at age 73.

First-time racer Christopher Churchman, 25, of Point Breeze, said the race was “way cooler” than he expected.

“It was crazy at the beginning,” he said. “I had no idea what was going on.”

Cheers from the crowds lining Broad Street, along with their signs, kept him going, he said.

“The Eagles signs were the best,” he said. “’If the Eagles can win the Super Bowl, you can do this.’”

Camera icon JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Runners at the start of the Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

Melanie McGowan, 51, of Paoli, and Mary DiCampli, 55, of Broomall, were holding up a sign of their own for McGowan’s son: “Way to go Matt McGowan. Congratulations!! You did it.” Since they got to the Navy Yard around 7:30 a.m., they had been tracking him by alerts on a phone.

“He is graduating St. Joe’s in two weeks and it was on his bucket list of things to do before graduation,” said Melanie McGowan.

Athletes wound their way through a maze of barriers at the end of the race, past volunteers handing out bottles of water to pick their goodie bags loaded with fruit, snacks and yogurt and to meet up with friends.

Richard Klein, 66, of Lititz, was hard to miss in his tall Uncle Sam hat, as he and Renee Clewell, 39, of Downingtown, caught up with each other by the awards stand.

Camera icon JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Runners with Philadelphia City Hall in the background during the 2018 Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

“Who doesn’t like Uncle Sam?” asked Klein. The crowd loved his attire and he got a lot of high-fives from cops along the route. “If I wore a Patriots hat, they’d be throwing stuff at me.”

Lacie Michaelson, 27, of Mount Airy, was admiring the finish medal.

“I love that it has the skyline. It feels like home,” she said, adding that the design also doubles as a beer opener.

The race was “awesome” and she was very happy with her time, which was about 30 seconds a mile faster than she expected.

Camera icon JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Jamie McMenamin, left, and Natalia Chernyshova, embrace minutes before the start of the 2018 Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

“You were my inspiration,” Lauren Boone, 34, of Sicklerville, said to her friends and fellow runners, Kim Celano, 35, also of Sicklerville, and Sue Learn, 40, of Collingswood. The three had been training together for the run since March and ran the race from start to finish side-by-side.

“We had friends stationed all along the course,” said Celano. They cheered the trio on, she said.

Without her two friends by her side, Celano said, the race would not have been as much fun.

“There were times I would have given up,” said Boone.

It took three years to get a bib for the race and Douglas Hawkins, 56, of Plainfield, N.J., had a few doubts about finishing along the way but, once he hit the 9-mile mark, he knew he could do it.

“It is one of the best-organized races I have ever been in,” Hawkins said. He felt good and was happy with his time of 1:51.

As for next year, he’s already planning to enter, he said.

“This is a very good way to start the day,” he added.

Camera icon JOSE F. MORENO /Staff Photographer
Gabriel Esquenazi, of Philadelphia, rides the subway home after an early finish in the 39th Annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run.