Broad Street Run a draw – even to the not-yet-born

Henry Rutto of Kenya started the Blue Cross Broad Street Run in North Philadelphia as the front-runner and led the entire way.
Henry Rutto of Kenya started the Blue Cross Broad Street Run in North Philadelphia as the front-runner and led the entire way. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 08, 2012

One of the youngest participants in Sunday's Blue Cross Broad Street Run was snug in the belly of Sarah Sharp, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mother from Delaware.

Sharp ran the 10-miler at six months pregnant, and if her protruding belly didn't give her away, the words on the front of her shirt did: "Running for two."

The first couple miles, she said she thought, "Oh, no!" After that, "I felt great."

As for the little girl inside her belly? Not so much as a kick.

Sharp was among 40,000 runners who made their way from Central High School in North Philadelphia to the Navy Yard deep in South Philadelphia during what has become the largest 10-mile run in America.

Weather conditions were perfect for the 33d annual event - upper 50s and overcast, with low humidity - and only a few minor injuries were reported, race director Jim Marino said. Three or four injured people were taken to hospitals and were expected to be treated and released, he said.

The race started at 8:30. The winning runner, Henry Rutto of Kenya, crossed the finish line in just over 47 minutes, and the last of the participants followed more than three hours later. A few were still straggling in about 12:30 p.m., Marino said.

Traffic was tough, and, adding insult to exhaustion, runners had to walk a distance to their cars after the race because the Wells Fargo Center parking lot had been off-limits all morning due to the 76ers playoff game, which started at 1 p.m., he said.

Toting signs, thousands lined the race route to cheer on family and friends.

"It's like a migration," said Ted O'Neil, who was there to support his 28-year-old daughter.

From the Temple University students around the Broad Street campus to the churchgoers in their Sunday best, the crowds lifted the spirits of passing runners.

"I don't even wear my headphones because I enjoy hearing them," Brianna Hearn, 25, of Philadelphia, said of the spectators.

She ran with her friend Bridget Golden, 28, a schoolteacher who apparently had a subconscious case of prerace jitters.

On Saturday night, she had a "Broad Street Run nightmare," Golden said.

"I had a dream I was still running at 8:30 p.m.," she said. "Hopefully, that doesn't become a reality."

Some ran for fun, but others had a cause.

Carolyn Stellatella of Point Pleasant honored her friend Seth Grumet, once an active father of three who has been battling Hodgkin's lymphoma for the last two years.

She carried with her a "Seth Head," a picture of the 42-year-old's face on a stick.

Courtenay Cavanaugh, 38, an assistant professor of psychology at Rutgers University-Camden, got some sweet payback. She beat her brother, J.J. Cavanaugh, 41, of Reno, Nev., who had topped her in a race in San Francisco a decade ago.

Cavanaugh boasted that she not only beat her brother, but "I took at least three Kenyans."

Her brother got a high-five along the route from Mayor Nutter, among the dignitaries who came out to cheer on the runners.

"I told him he had a great city," J.J. Cavanaugh said.

Chakir Bouchaib, 26, a jewelry store worker from Philadelphia, finished in just over 53 minutes. It was his best time in three tries.

"It feels good," he said, still dripping with sweat. "It's the greatest feeling - makes me happy and smile inside."

He hopes to make the Olympic trials some day.

Esther Erb, 26, a professional runner from North Carolina, finished first among women, with a time of just over 55 minutes. She had placed fourth last year.

"It feels so much better to win," she said, her powder-blue running shoes now in hand rather than on her feet.

Nancy Clayton, 46, a psychiatrist from New Zealand, was in town for the American Psychiatric Association convention and decided to run.

"This was lots of fun!" she said.

Not for everyone. Late in the race, a woman still about a half-mile from the finish line screamed out in pain and grabbed her calf as workers helped her into the back of a wagon.

Bryan Purcell, 25, a software engineer from Philadelphia, limped by in search of his "faster friends." He's not a regular runner, and he was aching.

But he wasn't complaining.

"I'll just stretch it out," he said.

As for the pregnant Sharp, she planned to have lunch with friends in the city.

She began running three years ago after she had her first child.

In October, she became aware of a woman who gave birth the same day she ran the Chicago marathon and thought: "Oh, I want to do that." (Run while pregnant, that is.)

Sharp ran a marathon when she was five days pregnant, though she wasn't aware of her condition at the time. Since then, she has added a half-marathon and the 10-miler. She plans to do a 5k, too.

Her baby girl inside just goes along for the ride.

"She's used to me running," Sharp said. "She probably sleeps."


Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693, ssnyder@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|