Broad Street Run – From the Back Of The Pack

– Jamie Stanek

anne me


Broad Street is getting close.  I feel it like a holiday or party.  Last year, I was planning on mostly walking Broad Street.  I could do close to 14 minute miles at a quick walk.  I was being kinda snotty about it because I “wasn’t a runner.”  I hadn’t really run much in the training runs that I started coming to in late February (once it warmed up to where I was willing to come out).  I would walk at the very back with whomever else came and was trying to run. I met some wonderful women who were doing a jog at my walk pace. No one was left behind. It was my motto and my excuse.

I got hooked into the Back Of The Pack (BOTP) group and made some friends.  I ended up starting to run some, then some more.  I remember, 19 April 2014, the first time we did 9 miles, our farthest ever.  We ran up Struble and then up Uwchlan and back.  I remember it was with Anne, Karen, Leasa, and our team Cheerleader Elaine. I even ran a fair bit.  I think this is the day we all hit the belief that we could do it.  We had been training for a couple of months.  We were a motley group of runners with injuries, asthma, and me, the lazy-bones, and we came to realize we can do this, together – as a team.  It was a run to remember.

Now, there are lots of different runners on our team. We really do cover the full range of paces and goals.  You all inspire me.  The fast ones who run full time and shoot to beat personal bests, the interval folks, and even you walkers.  No one I’ve met on a Sunday morning is a quitter.  The showing up is the foundation that our success is built on.

Last year at the Pre-Race DetermiNation dinner, one of our coaches, Patrick Fernando, changed my whole perspective on the Broad Street Run.  Aside from the great advice he gave on not weaving all over the place and to trust in our training, he told us that the real race was already over. Our training was the race.  Broad Street Run was our Victory Lap.

I had a restless night on a borrowed bed.  I was so excited.  Fitful sleep and a wicked early start of the day didn’t matter.  Nerves on the bus as people checked their gear again and again didn’t matter.  Feeling like I had to pee every 5 minutes once we got to the starting area didn’t matter.  My only goal was to have fun and take it all in as I ran with my running partner, Anne.  She was still nursing an injury, and I wasn’t about to leave her behind.

At the start line, I stripped off my windbreaker (hit a thrift shop for a throw away top you can drop at the start, they get collected for the homeless so it’s cool), and off we went.  From the BOTP corral it took almost 30 minutes to get to the start line.  About the time Anne and I hit the first mile maker, Mourad Marofit crossed the finish line.  We had nine more miles and two more hours to enjoy the route.  Mourad may have won the race, but I bet I enjoyed it more. He only got to see the people for 48 minutes.  I had well over two hours of running, walking, talking, laughing, hand slapping to take it in. It was a victory lap.Corral

The crowd is so great. For practically the whole course you will have lots of people clapping, cheering, waving signs, and giving you high fives.  It was only sparse around mile 7-8.  Every time I felt like I was getting tired or discouraged, I would move over to the side of the road and get a high five or two or ten.  Seriously, those pit stops give you so much energy.  As you run, do it.  It’s energizing for you and likely for the giver, too.  Over 40,000 people will run by them, how many people make time to slap their hands.  Give them some Team CMMD love back.

Around mile 7.5 we saw the crowds increasing as we approached the Navy Yard.  In a cruel joke, you’ll want to believe the archway into the Navy Yard is the end… it is not.  You have a quarter mile further to go but, the crowd is so big and their energy just floods into you to carry you that last bit.  I still get a little misty as I remember crossing the finish.  I remember hugging Anne and saying we did it. We had done it.  It was glorious.  Months of training, repeatedly and uncomfortably asking friends for money all ended with a medal, a banana and a cheese steak in the DNation tent…and a sense of achievement and satisfaction that compels me to do it again and again.  Enjoy your Victory Lap.



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