Now that my training is going well again, my chronological clock has been telling me to fit in some more Bucket List races. What could be more 'buckety' than the 40th Blue Cross Broad Street Run in Philadelphia?! I don't know of another race this long that is a straight shot. The runners start on Broad Street in North Philly, a few blocks from the Olney Street station and run all the way down to [and around] City Hall with its classic statue of William Penn [that two blocks the only detour from the straight line] and then another straight shot through South Philly to the Navy Yard and the finish! Raced in Philadelphia for almost 40 years, it is, according to its website, the "largest, fastest, most popular' 10-Mile Race in the Country. Some races, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, in particular, might dispute one of those claims, but there is no doubt that over 35,000 runners toe the line in North Philadelphia the first Sunday in May each year. With hardly any turns, only one moderate hill starting just before the 1 mile marker, and dropping from 155' above sea level to a mere 18' at the Navy Yard finish, it cannot be anything but fast!
Watch Out for those Turns! Just kidding!
[Posted at www.broadstreetrun.com/run/. Pic taken and downoaded by Paul Carlin]
BCBSR Elevation Chart
[Posted at www.broadstreetrun.com/run/. Pic taken and downoaded by Paul Carlin]
What were my chances for the Men's 70-74 podium? I was fresh off an Age Division win at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC in 1:17:29 and felt like I could maybe run a little faster in Philly. How did it go last year and the year before? Last year 1-2-3 was Gene Dykes 1:03:01; Byron Mundy 1:13:38; and Tom Jennings 1:17:04. The year before the trio had clocked 1:03, 1:13, and 1:16. It looked like I would have my work cut out for me to get on the podium. Dykes, of course, would be miles ahead if he showed up; in the past year or so he has broken American Records at distances from 10K to the Marathon. I could hope he would be running one of his Ultras but as a Philly native, he apparently tries to schedule this race in. With Mundy I would just have to hope it might be an off year for him. I did not wish anything bad to happen to him but know, from my own experience, that injuries crop up from time to time and slow us down, or not! Jennings came in ahead of me when we were in the same 5 Km XC race last September, but XC is not my forte. I figured I had a chance. And the Age Division awards go five deep so I should at least get some recognition as long as I had no major disasters.
Unlike other such races, I had an acquaintance in Philly to give me some tips. I have run into Christy Peterson, at some USATF Masters Championships and at Peachtree. She finished 4th in the Masters Competition last year and 3rd the year before at Broad Street , so she knows a thing or two about the race. My main questions were about staging and logistics. From the race site I knew there were gear buses to transport your gear from the start to the finish, and that runners were encouraged to park in the stadium lots about a half mile from the finish, and take the Broad Street line (subway) to the Olney Street stop. Anyone with a race bib would receive free admission to the subway before (and after) the race. Peterson advised me against parking in the stadium lots unless I was willing to wait a long time to exit after the race. She suggested, instead, parking at the northern terminus of the Broad Street line, the Fern Rock Transportation Center. I found it on a map and then looked for an Air BnB accommodation not far from it. I lucked out; there was a studio apartment available less than a 10 minute drive from Fern Rock, with its own free parking-perfect!
The race this year was on Sunday, May 5th. I would drive from Indy to a Motel in Lancaster PA, a little over an hour rom Philly on the Friday, and then drive into Philly on Saturday. I had the romantic illusion that I would remember Lancaster from the early 1970's when I taught part-time at Gallaudet College and worked part-time for the G.L.U.T. Food Coop. Even though it was called a Food Coop, it was essentially a Coop for Neighborhood Food Coops in Washington DC, a wholesaler if you will. My job was to drive a 2-ton truck, with the Co-op's buyer riding 'shotgun', up to Baltimore every week to pick up various items from their Wholesale district. But a couple of times a month we would make a longer run up to Amish Country around Lancaster, where we would pick up eggs, apple cider, and farm staples. Of course, nothing looked very familiar 47 years later! But that was okay; it was a good place to stop, a little over 8 hours on the road from Indy. That kind of drive 2 days before the race has worked out well for me.
The next morning I drove into Philly, located Fisher and Broad Street, the starting line for the race, and drove the first couple of miles just to see what that one hill was all about. I learned that it is not very steep nor vey long, and is followed by a downhill stretch--good to know. You can push up the hill if feeling good and know you will be rewarded. I then drove back to Fern Street, parked the car, and took the subway to the Expo to walk around downtown and pick up my bib, etc. I also figured I would find a Starbucks and work on the long list of laptop projects I always have with me. And it served as a dry run for the prerace trip the next day. Everything went smoothly. I noted on the way down that Olney was the first stop after starting from Fern Rock. I entered the Convention Center via the wrong door but quickly got rerouted to where I needed to be. Right inside the Expo area I found the Elite/Seeded area and got my bib and then my clear, plastic gear bag and t-shirt.
|Ross Martinson, Elite Athlete Coordinator, greeted Elite and Seeded Runners, distributed bibs and answered questions [Photo by Paul Carlin]|
After walking through Logan Square, admiring the nice job Philly had done in making that part of the downtown very pleasant, I got to a Whole Foods, where I acquired my microwavable meal for the evening along with a healthy salad, beverage, and breakfast bagel. In the evening I reviewed instructions, laid out gear, and texted Peterson. She would be arriving at Fern Rock around 6 am to catch the 6:17 subway. I set my alarm for 5:20 am and planned to meet her there. An old hand could help me get to the staging area in good shape.
We met at 6, with me in my throwaway over shirt and workout pants from Goodwill and Peterson in her down jacket. "I am not getting cold before the race" she said. We had no problems getting to the venue except that these two distractible people in conversation forgot to get off at the first stop, Olney. We eventually realized we had missed our stop, got off at the next one, went up to street level, crossed over and down and caught the next train back to Olney. The comical thing was that we got worried a little about starting our warmup routines late. I started doing a few of my stretching exercises right on the platform, hoping she wouldn't think it too odd. Then looked over and she was already in one of her yoga poses. If it hadn't been Broad Street Run weekend, we would have gotten a lot of stares and perhaps comments! Once at Olney, Peterson guided me up toward the staging area. Once there we split as she had access to the Elite Tent and, as a seeded but not elite runner, I did not. It was a light rain when we first got there around 6:45.. Lots of folks were standing under trees sheltering from the direct rain, many wearing plastic bags or other improvised rain coverings. But it did rain a bit harder a bit before 7:30 when I made my way to the Seeded Corral to be in place for the 7:45 AM Presentation of the Colors and the singing of the National Anthem. It let up after ten minutes or so but continued as a light rain off and on the resto of the morning. Luckily, with temps in the upper 50's there was little discomfort.
After the anthem and the applause and cheers from the crowd, the runners were called forward. But the race did not start at 8 am sharp. They were waiting for something and it was a couple of minutes after the 8 am start time. All of a sudden the starting gun went off and, after a second of surprise, we were off and running. The first stretch is downhill so it is okay to let it out a little but important to keep things in check. Pleased to see the first two miles come up at 7:24 and 7:29 (the hill went on the 2nd mile). The only runners I knew by sight around me were Peterson and Abby Dean, whom I had met at a Cross Country race a couple of years earlier. Last year Dean was 1st Masters woman and I think Peterson was maybe third; they would do battle again no doubt. In any case, I kept them in sight for a bit but pretty soon I had no one I knew to gauge a pace off of...but dozens of folks I did not know. Plenty of folks coming past me but not a lot going at just the pace I wanted; that's normal when I start with the Elites. I am fast for a 73-year old guy but not as fast as many of the guns in the first corral. Lots of spectators were out cheering us along, the numbers getting bigger as we approached City Hall just before the 6 mile mark. Slowed to 7:40 to 7:45 pace the next few miles. One thing I like about running with the Garmin is that you get your split, but you don't have to obsess about it; you just run your miles. A little vibration, glance down, there's the mile split time.
Got a brief shock when we went around City Hall and straightened out-I got my 6 mile split and I read 8:10--what?! I hoped the Garmin had somehow messed up. Still I sped up a bit and was shocked again when it read 7:24...too fast. But I had already found my cruising pace again and was rewarded when the Garmin showed a 7:42 for the 8th mile. Later I realized the tall buildings had interfered; many others said their GPS did the same thing. My best guess is the actual splits were maybe 7:54/7:40 as the square-out around City Hall probably did slow us a bit...and I did speed u pint he 7th mile. Anyway all was looking good as the final miles ticked by and there was the 9 mile mark up head. But all of a sudden an old problem popped up; I felt a pain in my right lower front leg, anterior tibialis. It has tended to happen over the last year and a half or so in races of 15K and longer. But it doesn't always happen; I voided it at the cherry Blossom 10 Miler, which was flat. It seems to be related to downhill running and there is some downhill running at Broad Street. My worst experience was at the 2018 Papa John's Pizza 10 Miler where I had to slow considerably for the last mile and came close to stopping the pain was so intense. Not quite as bad was the 15K Championship last fall in Tulsa where it hit me just after the turnaround to come back over the bridge and head up the hill to the finish. Again there it followed a considerable downhill portion. It does not prey on my mind so much because so far once the race is over, the pain goes away and does not come back during training. I immediately tried playing with stride length. My general approach is to see fi I can increase turnover and run it off. If not. then I decrease turnover or shorten or lengthen my stride. None of these worked continuously but they did give me enough breaks so I never got as close to stopping as I had last year. It is the reason why the last mile was not faster though. Instead of 9 seconds faster than mile 9, I believe I could have run closer to 7:30, or even faster than the 7:39 I ran. I did not quite dare to go all out. But I was very happy to have broken 1:17--progress! It did not matter in terms of the Age Division podium. After the race I found that Dykes had run and finished over 12 minutes ahead of me in 1:04:21, but I did take 2nd ahead of Mundy, whom I don't know. He did have an off day, running 1:18:03. I also texted back and forth with Peterson, learning that she was also happy with her race, '...even splits and a 1:00:53.'
So all was good going through the lines to get bananas and granola bars, Finisher Medals and such. Some folks were handing out dry t-shirts and I took one.
|Finisher Medal for 40th Anniversary of BCBS Run-Expecting More Bling in form of Age Group 2nd Place [Photo by Paul Carlin]|
That helped me retain some heat as I had just been running in singlet and shorts. Little did I guess how long it would be before I could claim my gear at the gear check bus. When I got to the area, a number of buses were there already with more arriving. After I did a complete circuit and did not locate my bus, I asked a guy with a 'walkie-talkie' who was in contact with the buses. He said one of the buses got off the Expressway too soon and three buses followed that one. It hasn't happened in 20 years! My bus was one of them. He said it could take then a half hour to get back around and up onto the Expressway again so they could exit to the Navy Yard. A growing crowd of similarly unlucky runners mingled about. Luckily it was now about 60 degrees so even with the light ran people were not shivering (much). In the end it was an extra 40 minutes to get our gear. A rare miscue on an otherwise flawless performance by the BCBS10 crew. No harm done. I followed the crowd back to the Broad Street Line Subway stop at NRG, hopped on the first train that stopped , retrieved my car from the end of the line at Fern Rock and got back to the apartment pushing the check out time. I texted my host who said take as much time as you need. So I took a nice, warm shower, packed up my stuff and hit the road. As is my wont, I planned on a long day in the saddle to get home that evening. I ran into no problems and pulled into my driveway around 10:30 pm none the worse for wear, and happy to have another great bucket race in the collection!
How Did Masters Runners Do Generally?
The masters podium was made up of Brock Butler, Steve Gourley, and Mike DiGennaro on the Men's side, and Margaret Njuguna, Christy Peterson, and Kara Rubinich. All of the podium winners had National Class age grade percentages or better. The top Age Grading performances among the Women were turned in by Njuguna, 49, who earned a 99.37% rating, Nancy Smith, 64, with a 90.02%, and Michelle Brangan, 49, with 88.56%. For the Men it was Gene Dykes, 71, with a 93.45%, followed by Kenneth Barbee, 55, at 89.32%, and Russell Blatt, 62, at 89.08%. That demonstrates terrific up front running. The Age Division contests are recapped below.
40-44 Brock Butler Chester Springs PA, Mike DiGennaro Wilmington DE, and Steve Gourley Doylestown PA took it out at 5:11 per mile pace for the first 3 miles, putting a gap on Richard Jennings San Clemente CA and Dwayne Brown Philadelphia PA, who would finish 4th and 5th. By the 7th mile, Gourley and Butler had a 45 second advantage on DiGennaro. Butler had more over the final 3 miles, winning the division and taking the Masters title in 52:13, with Gourley a half minute back in 2nd.
Brock Butler 52:13 87.55% Age Grade Steve Gourley 52:42 86.12% Mike DiGennaro 53:47 84.38%
|Brock Butler, in his Rabbit singlet and rain gear, holding his crystal trophy along with the Masters winner for Women, Margaret Njuguna [posted on FB by Brock Butler]|
45-49 Terry Davidson Randolph NJ established an early gap on 2nd place finisher Kevin Buegless Media PA and held it the entire way, winning in 57:21 with a minute to spare. Peter Smithson Sewell NJ took 3rd as Beugless was able to pass in the last section and hold a 7 second advantage at the finish. Vince Varallo and Steve Holman, who took 4th and 5th, also cracked 80% on age grading, with Holman hitting 82.81%.
Terry Davidson 57:21 83.70% Kevin Buegless 58:28 80.76% Peter Smithson 58:35 83.33%
50-54 Eric Shafer Pittsburgh PA forged a half minute lead in the first 3 miles and added to it steadily, crossing the finish line in 57:03, with nearly a minute on the 2nd place finisher, Tim Harte Coatesville PA. Matt Sandercock Exton PA followed 52 seconds later in 3rd. The 4th and 5th place finishers, Bill Farquhar and Matthew Costello both cracked 83% in age grading as well.
Eric Shafer 57:03 86.33% Tim Harte 57:56 85.73% Matt Sandercock 58:48 83.76%
55-59 Kenneth Barbee Philadelphia PA had no trouble winning this division by 2 minutes in 57:36, and missing a 90% age grade, signifying a World Class performance by just a few tenths of a percent. Jim Sery Clarksboro PA finished 2nd with a minute and a half margin over Henry Notaro Northfield NJ. Notaro held off 4th and 5th place finishers, Daniel Mazo and Joseph Koelbel by 6 and 11 seconds respectively as they both registered age grade scores just under 84%.
Kenneth Barbee 57:36 89.32% Jim Sery 59:49 87.57% Henry Notaro 1:01:18 85.45%
60-64 Russell Blatt West Hartford CT had an even more dominant win taking the division in 1:01:38 by over 4 minutes, as he too cracked 89% in age grading. Kenneth Olsho Fort Washington PA reversed a 6 second deficit in the last 3 miles to take 2nd place just six seconds ahead of Jeffrey Painter Swarthmore PA. A minute later Stephen Gardner took 4th, cracking 83% in age-grading with Peter Ratigan another 46 seconds back in 5th.
Russell Blatt 1:01:38 89.08% Kenneth Olsho 1:05:52 83.35% Jeffrey Painter 1:05:58 81.66%
65-69 Bob Welby Northumberland PA had to come from behind over the second half of the race but wound up with a minute margin of victory in 1:10:50. Lee McConnell Malvern PA had over half a minute on John Hibbs Bristol PA , who was followed in 4th and 5th by Randy Rigley and Phil Davies.
Bob Welby 1:10:50 80.59% Lee McConnell 1:11:54 78.60% John Hibbs 1:12:33 77.90%
70-74 As noted above, Gene Dykes Bala Cynwyd PA won this division again by a country mile, although this year it was closer to two country miles, clocking 1:04:21 to take the title with over 12 minutes to spare. As usual, it was a World Class performance by the Bala Cynwyd speedster. The race for second was closer; a 23 second lead at the 3 mile mark grew only to 29 seconds by the 7 mile mark. If Mundy had a strong finish he could take 2nd. But on this day he did not, as I Indianapolis IN eased into 2nd with over a minute to spare. An off day for Mundy, no doubt. Here's hoping he can recover for next year and that I can keep my current recovery going. If so, we can have a battle again next year but both come in well under 1:15. We shall see. Mundy was followed a minute later by Anthony Jordan in 4th place and then 4 added minutes saw James Greenberg home in 5th.
Gene Dykes 1:04:21 93.45% Paul Carlin 1:16:55 80.24% Byron Mundy 1:18:03 77.04%
75-79 Tom Jennings Ft. Washington PA moved up to this age division and took it with ease, winning by over 7 minutes in 1:19:03. Jim Assal Lansdale PA took 2nd in 1:26:34, followed 15 minutes later by Angelo Mattei Philadelphia PA in 3rd. Jim Hesser and Gerald Herman took 4th and 5th.
80+ Jerry Gornish Bala Cynwyd PA enjoyed a 14 minute margin of victory, crossing the finish line n 1:38:23. Tom Nuzzalo took 2nd, just two minutes ahead of Herbert Thal. Five minutes later Bill McClellan claimed 4th, followed by Rao Yalamanchili. At the age of 87, Thal was the oldest runner to finish on an age division podium.
Jerry Gornish 1:38:23 73.25% Tom Nuzzalo 1:52:34 62.47% Herbert Thal 1:54:37 76.02%
40-44 Christy Peterson North Wales PA had every reason to be happy with her race. What she did not put in her text was that she was 1st in her age division and 2nd in the Masters competition this year, and first American. She and Kara Rubinich Downingtown PA built a 7 second gap on Karen Dunn Trappe PA over the first 3 miles. As they dueled shoulder to shoulder and hit the halfway point in 30:30, the gap to Dunn grew to 21 seconds. They were still locked together at 7 miles but Peterson closed better to take the win by 39 seconds. Dunn closed strong but Rubinich held her off to claim 2nd with a seven second margin. Cristina Burbach followed 44 seconds later in 4th place, with an 84.23% age grade. Mary Ann McMenamin finished 5th in 1:06:02.
Christy Peterson 1:00:58 86.30% Kara Rubinich 1:01:37 82.85% Karen Dunn 1:01:44 83.86%
45-49 This division contained the overall Masters winner, Margaret Njuguna Nairobi, Kenya who ran away with the title in 55:49. At age 49, that earns a 99.37% age grade, an incredible World Class performance! She finished 5th overall, just a minute behind the winner, 32 year old Susan Jerotich. The battle for 2nd place and first American was between Brenda Hodge York PA, Michelle Brangan Mullica Hill NJ, and Abby Dean Philadelphia PA. Brangan took it out the strongest, building a 20 second gap back to Hodge and 30 seconds to Dean. By the 5 mile mark it seemed unlikely this would be as good a day as last year for Dean. She was 26 seconds behind Hodge who was 20 seconds behind Brangan. But there is still much racing to do with 5 miles left. Dean was not able to mount a challenge over the last 5 miles but Hodge did, cutting the gap to 20 seconds by the 7 mile mark. She had more in the tank for the last 3 miles as she caught Brangan and finished 2nd with a 15 second margin. Hodge was 5th Masters overall. Brangan took 3rd with Dean nearly 2 minutes back in 4th at 1:04:21. Despite it being an off day, Dean was just under 85% in age-grading. Jenna Kurath took 5th in 1:05:52 and also broke the 80% 'National Class' standard for age grading.
Margaret Njuguna 55:49 99.37% Brenda Hodge 1:02:23 86.88% Michelle Brangan 1:02:38 88.56%
50-54 Lisa Kallenbach Bryn Mawr PA built a 9 second lead in the first 3 miles and added to it the rest of the way as she took the win in 1:05:40, enjoying a margin of more than 3 minutes. Christine Lloyd Newtown PA could not match Kallenbach but maintained a pace that was fast enough so that she was never seriously challenged, finishing 2nd almost a half minute ahead of 3rd place. It looked like Jennifer Harvey New York NY would have that 3rd spot as she steadily increased her lead over Julie Pangburn Downingtown PA from 7 seconds at 3 miles to 12 seconds at the halfway mark but that is when the tide turned. Pangburn took all but 2 seconds out of Harvey's lead in the next 2 miles. Then Pangburn closed it out, coming across the finish line with an 8 second margin over Harvey who took 4th and cracked the 80% age grade standard. A minute and change later Annabelle Broadbent Perkasie PA took 5th.
Lisa Kallenbach 1:05:40 86.5% Christine Lloyd 1:09:16 81.02% Julie Pangburn 1:09:44 84.51%
55-59 Gini Nichols Candia NH took it out fastest in this division, clocking 21:20 at the 3 mile mark, a half minute ahead of Kelly Dworak Carlisle PA, who had 20 seconds on Hillary Goodman Springhouse PA, with Mary Brierly Oreland PA another 20 seconds back. By the 7 mile mark Nichols had increased her lead to 51 seconds, but Goodman was now only 5 seconds behind Dworak, who had slowed between miles 5 and 7. Nichols ran into some trouble over the final 3 miles, whether an injury that flared up during the run, or pacing difficulty is uncertain. In any case, her pace slowed by ten seconds per mile, allowing both Dworak and Goodman to pass. Goodman closed strongly but, despite her best efforts, could not catch Dworak who escaped with a gritty one second victory in 1:3:45! Brierly was also able to pass Nichols and take 3rd in 1:15:05. Nichols, in her last year in this age division had the consolation of knowing that even with the trouble she ran into, her 1:15:17 netted the highest age grade in the division, a fine 83.53. Jean Norton took the 5th spot in 1:16:07.
Kelly Dworak 1:13:45 81.97% Hillary Goodman 1:13:46 81.95% Mary Brierly 1:15:05 81.58%
60-64 Nancy Smith New Britain PA took the early lead with a 21:10 at the 3 mile mark and added to her lead steadily, taking the win in a National Class time of 1:12:47. Linda Boyer North Wales PA and Mary Reed Yardley PA were shoulder to shoulder at the 3 mile mark but Boyer pulled away and stayed ahead the rest of the way, taking 2nd in 1:17:58. Two minutes later Reed took 3rd with a minute to spare. Kathy Merritt could not quite stay with Reed but turned in a fine 1:21:00 for an 83.19% age grade. Carol Giampietro came in 5th a minute later.
Nancy Smith 1:12:47 90.02% Linda Boyer 1:17:58 82.88% Mary Reed 1:20:17 83.93%
65-69 Apparently there was a chip malfunction as the winner, Carol Rucci, had no intermediate splits recorded. She won by 29 seconds in 1:26:08. Janis Kritzer hit the 3 mile mark in 25:43 with almost a 2 minute lead on Rochelle Suflas. Kritzer took a few seconds off of that lead in the next 4 miles but was still a minute and a half back at the 7 mile mark. The final 3 miles was another story though as Suflas, running a classic negative splits race, first caught and then raced past a tiring Kritzer, taking 2nd by 19 seconds in 1:26:47. Mary Ann Gurka took 4th in 1:28:55, followed by Nadine Dennis in 1:31:16.
Carol Rucci 1:26:08 82.99% Rochelle Suflas 1:26:47 81.14% Janis Kritzer 1:27:06 78.49%
70-74 Barbara Weiss Voorhees NJ had the faster time at the 3 mile mark but Joy Hampton Mullica Hill NJ slowly but steadily cut into her lead. When Weiss tired over the final miles, Hampton was able to pass and gain the win in 1:39:30. Weiss took second two minutes later, followed by Regina Hart Doylestown PA third in 1:44:55. Mary Ellen Cramer took 4th in 1:46:4, followed 4 minutes later by Ellen Przyuski in 5th.
Joy Hampton 1:39:30 76.50% Barbara Weiss 1:41:38 73.71% Regina Hart 1:44:55 70.28%
75-79 Ingrid Cantarella Fox Chesterbrook PA led Sandra Folzer Philadelphia PA by almost two and a half minutes at the 7 mile mark. A chip malfunction denies us the first two splits for Folzer but mot likely she was behind from early in the race. Folzer, in her last year in this Age Division, took 1:46 out of Fox's lead but ran out of race course before she caught her. Folzer had the better age grading score, however, by far. Fox took 1st in 1:40:26, followed 40 seconds later by Folzer. Twenty minutes later Judith Wertheim Philadelphia PA claimed third place. Mary McCoy finished 4th in 2:05:36, followed by Patricia Christensen's 2:20:25 for 5th.
Ingrid Cantarella Fox 1:40:26 79.67% Sandra Folzer 1:41:06 85.44% Judith Wertheim 2:01:28 67.01%
80-84 Bonnie Kanefsky Elkins Park PA and Lorraine Cephus Cherry Hill NJ were the two competitors in the 80+ division. Kanefsky led from wire to wire, taking first in 3:00:25. Cephus came in second a half hour later. Cephus, age 89, has the honor of being the oldest finisher.
Bonnie Kanefsky 3:00:25 50.30% Lorraine Cephus 3:37:59 56.46%