This was my first year attending the Philadelphia Broad Street Run – a 10 mile race that runs north to south through the heart of the city. My friend drove in from Boston to run and I served as support. In the morning, I dropped her off at Broad and Olney (the starting point) and drove to the Navy Yard in South Philly(the finish line). By the time I fought traffic, parked the car, and got to Broad Street a steady stream of runners were already crossing the finish line. Even in a car, some of the runners were to fast to beat. I posted on side of the street right before the Navy Yard entranceway with a make-shift sign (featured above), clapping my thigh as the rain came down in a steady, ever-present stream. At first, it felt strange to clap and shout because everyone around me was relatively silent. But the runners’ reactions to my cheers showed they appreciated the noise.
Soon I found myself coach-like shouting, “Whoo-hoo…alright almost there…yeaaaaaah….looking strong! Finish line in sight, dig deep, you got this…..homestretch….not too much longer, almost there. Running in Prince’s purple rain, y’all…Looking strong. I see you, America (to the three different men running while holding the American flag on a pole) … I see you Batman….” The custom shout outs commenting on people’s shirts or accessories were particularly fun for me. I saw one grey haired man running bare foot, another with a curved prosthetic leg, a couple with wheel chairs, several had trash bags as rain gear, and one tall, skinny man wrote “Ken” across his mid-section in big bold letters. Ken really made me laugh. The city came out in full force – people of all different shapes, sizes and cultures united by a common goal. Observing their individual faces of determination, grit, and exhaustion made me proud to bear witness to their triumphs.
When Monica came around the bend she actually saw me first, and it’s a good thing because with so many moving faces it’s hard to miss the person you came to support. “Ahhh!” I shouted, as she pointed to my sign with a smile. We slapped hands and caught up in the moment I started running after her before checking myself. Afterwards, we toasted the run at the Draught Horse, a Temple University bar we hung out at in undergrad. She told me about the supporters along the way including the church goers that lined the steps clapping and the Temple band that played in the rain. At one point, I excused myself to go the bathroom and upon return said, “You’ll never believe it…I bruised my thigh from clapping.” Congratulations to all of you runners out there – you were truly impressive to watch!
Love Bruises (sometimes),
A Warrior Princess