So you didn’t get into Broad Street. That totally sucks. As someone who had been repeatedly denied (but somehow squeaked into the NYC Marathon Twice) I feel your baffled pain. Broad Street is a crown jewel of the City of Philadelphia. It is arguably the longest block party on the East Coast, and hands down one of the best races in America. The feeling of missing out on Broad Street just flat out sucks.
So what do you do now? You could run for charity. You could volunteer. You could rally a bunch of friends, and throw an EPIC cheer station/tailgate/party in support and solidarity! Lots of runners do. Unfortunately, it seems far too many people immediately direct themselves to Craigslist/Facebook/*Insert Digital De Facto Bib Marketplace*. In a few weeks, you’ll see Broad Street bibs selling from anywhere between $50-$150 a piece (yes, for real) just waiting to be snatched up. Sadly, lots of people seem completely ok with this type of activity. Why is this problematic? We won’t dive too deeply into the "race director vs. runner debate of the ages", but in short, it is a health hazard, a hazard to the other runners, a danger to race directors and their race insurance, and putting it bluntly, it’s just unethical. Luckily, Broad Street is one of the few races that allow legal transfer periods, which puts a huge dent in this type of behavior. I digress...
Why do we go to these lengths to procure a bib? We WANT to. We DESERVE it. We work hard and train hard all year round. WE ARE RUNNERS. Who cares about the who’s, why’s, and what’s? It’s not THAT big of a deal, anyway.
Actually, it is kind of a big deal. It’s about a social problem that comes up all to often these days. Again, why is this problematic? Privilege. It’s about privilege. Privilege and lack of perspective.
priv·i·lege ˈpriv(ə)lij/ noun 1. a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.
We, runners, are the ones lucky enough to have two working legs. We use them to accomplish feats of athleticism that bring us deep into our primal roots. Each bead of sweat and burning muscle creates a biological effect that can only be experienced to be understood. We are the lucky ones. These two working legs allow us access to many exclusive experiences, from special events tailored around running, to new social experiences, to finding your next life partner. We are lucky, and most of the time, we are gracious and thankful. Sometimes we are not.
So you didn’t get into Broad Street. Yeah, it sucks. I’m sorry. It stings. I’m sorry. I really am sorry. I’ve been there. Not getting what you want is the worst. I battle with it all the time, but Broad Street is a luxury. The ability to run this race at all is a privilege. The economic footing to afford the $45 fee is a privilege. You’re already given so many gifts before you even open your laptop to enter the lottery. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay.
Life isn’t about getting what you want all the time. Denial can be a great gift. It will make next year’s race even BETTER (if you do get in). Try volunteering! Stand in solidarity with your fellow runners and cheer! Help train a friend! If none of that works for you, at the very least, just deal with it. Life goes on. You still have two legs and there are plenty of races happening every weekend. You’re gonna be just fine. Recognize your privilege. Be gracious for it. Keep on running.
Author: Jon Lyons
Founder of RUN215. Fitness Activist. Father. Self-diagnosed running addict.