Runners from all walks of life prepare for the May 1 10-mile Broad Street Run.
Brian Karol awoke on the morning of May 2, 2010 ready to race.
He arrived at Central High School 20 minutes before the gunshot. He drank some water, stretched his legs and tied his shoelaces extra tight before taking off down Broad Street in the company of some of the country’s most elite runners.
At one mile, the sophomore kinesiology major was feeling great. At three miles, he was just a little tired, and as he reached City Hall, he stopped in the porta-potty to vomit.
“Don’t laugh at me,” Karol said, recounting last year’s run. “But it took me almost two hours to finish the 10-mile race.”
The 10-mile race Karol refers to is the Broad Street Run, an annual race down Broad Street, starting at Central High School and ending at the Navy Yard. The entire course is downhill, making it one of the fastest 10-mile races in the country. Unfortunately for Karol, the downhill terrain did not help him much last year.
“That day, it was just so hot and humid that I honestly did not think I would make it to the finish [line],” Karol said. “After [seven miles], I was running on pure adrenaline. Later that night, I was still feeling so terrible that I had to go to the hospital and get electrolytes pumped into me through an IV.”
This year, the Broad Street Run is on May 1, and Karol is determined to perform better now that he knows what went wrong in 2010.
“I am a diabetic, and I wasn’t careful enough about staying hydrated and eating enough the day of the race,” Karol said. “Oddly enough though, diabetes is one of the main reasons that I got into running in the first place. I wanted something that would keep me healthy, and I ended up losing 45 pounds through my training.”
As Karol was fighting his way down Broad Street that day, fellow student Rebecca Mims was cruising across the finish line at the Atlantic Ten Conference track and field championships in the last track race of her collegiate career.
This year, she will be on Broad Street with Karol and the 299,998 other registered participants.
“I decided to keep running on my own after leaving the Temple cross country and track teams,” said Mims, a senior kinesiology major who had to stop running with the team last fall in order to begin student teaching. “Running has just become a part of my identity, and running hard makes me feel good about myself.”
Mims said it is very difficult to stay dedicated to a training program now that she is not part of a team.
“It’s really hard to find the time. Now that I don’t have practice every day at 3 [p.m.], it’s easy to just say that I’ll do the run later, but I can’t do that. I have to be stern,” Mims said. “I also like signing up for races like the Broad Street Run because they keep me motivated to train hard. Otherwise, I get too lax in my training.”
One thing that makes the Broad Street Run so popular with students is that it is open to participants of all ability levels. Runners do not have to be Division I athletes like Mims in order to participate.
In fact, Mims will be running the race with her mother and sister, both amateur runners.
“For people who are just getting into long distance running, I suggest that they do what my mom did because it worked for her,” Mims said. “That is to start out gradually by maybe running three minutes at a time and then walking for two. And then as time goes on, and they continue training, they can increase the running time and decrease the walking time. That is what my mom did, and now she can run five-and a-half miles straight without stopping.”
While there are sure to be plenty of people walking part of the distance, Karol and Mims won’t be among them. They have been training for months, and this year, they are ready to run all the way through the finish line.
Amy Stansbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.