The site crashed and burned. Tempers flared. The entire day was a knot of frustration.
That shouldn't be the case when registration opens Monday for this year's May 5 race. For the first time since its inception in 1980, the Broad Street Run will choose its participants via lottery.
It's been a long time coming. The popularity of running is expanding rapidly at distances between the 5k and the marathon. Since 2000, the number of half-marathon finishers in the nation has tripled, according to RunningUSA, an industry group that tracks the sport.
At 3.1 miles shy of half-marathon distance, the Broad Street Run has been caught up in that nationwide boom. Already, it's the largest 10-miler in the country, with more than 34,000 finishers last year. In 2011, the race sold out in four days. In 2012, five hours.
So here's how the lottery will work: Registration is open from Monday through Feb. 15 at broadstreetrun.com. The organizers have suggested a registration schedule based on the first letter of runners' last names. There is no need to rush to register tomorrow morning. Whether someone enters the lottery tomorrow or Feb. 15 will make absolutely no difference in the chances of being picked.
Runners can register as individuals, or as groups that include up to five members. The purpose of the group is mostly for out-of-town runners who would be traveling as a pack - it's an all-or-nothing approach that organizers picked up from the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, which implemented a lottery system in 2010.
Runners who have completed the race 10 times are guaranteed entry, but they still must enter the lottery. Some members of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of USA Track and Field will also be given guaranteed entries, though Marino says they too must enter the lottery, and he's not sure how many spots will be granted.
Runners can also fundraise through a charity to get a bid. Those charities are listed on the race's website.
Saturday: Feel the Love Couples 5K, Navy Yard. The race benefits Parkinson's Foundation. Bryn Mawr Running Co., 610-527-5510.
Saturday: Chilly Willy Frostbite 4-miler, Camp Ockanickon, 1303 Stokes Rd., Medford, 9 a.m., Pineland Striders.
Saturday: Cupid's Cranium 5k run and 1 mile walk. Benefits pediatric brain tumor research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Pope John Paul II High School, 181 Rittenhouse Rd., Royersford. Register at atleastkids.org.
Saturday: Cupid's Chase 5k, Martin Luther King Drive, Philadelphia (enter at left side of Phila. Museum of Art). Register by 7 p.m. Friday at active.com.
To add your race, e-mail email@example.com. Please send at least two weeks in advance.