When the Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run takes place next month, Michael DeCarolis said he'll be there. He's just not sure if he'll be running, or just cheering on his parents and siblings.
"I remember the day that the lottery came out and I'm getting all these text messages at work from my mom, my dad, my sister and I went home and checked and unfortunately I was the only one that didn't get in."
DeCarolis has plenty of company, said race director Jim Marino.
"Thirty-six thousand people were accepted into the lottery and we had approximately 4,500 to 4,700 that were not accepted," he said.
Marino said the race has become hugely popular.
"We've been very fortunate. The runners have been our best advertising over the years and that's why our numbers have skyrocketed, along with the female running boom," he said.
For those who didn't get in, there's an online message board where aspiring runners can share their stories and try to persuade someone who has a bib to give it up.
There are emotional stories of people running in memory of friends and family who've died from disease or murder, stories of older runners hoping for one more race...and there's a recovering addict who says he started exercising while in recovery and got hooked.
In a bid to get a bib, the bulletin board is also populated with tales of how running helped people deal with life's daily struggles.
One of those posters, Lauren Kovnat of Delaware County, admits she hated running, until she was confronted with domestic discontent: a colicky baby and an anxious dog.
"It was the only way I could save my sanity from this anxious dog and this crying baby," Kovnat said. "She would calm down as soon as she got in the stroller and take a nap."
Kovnat said her husband joined the trio on weekends for runs as a family.
"The whole neighborhood knows us as the new people that moved in that run with their dog and their baby."
Michael DeCarolis, the guy who wants to run the race with his family, isn't sure of his odds.
"Even though my story might not be the most inspirational or heart-warming or touching, I just thought: you know, can't wait, might as well just get my story out there and see if it connects with anybody."
One easy way to try to connect with people? Sports.
One poster is offering an invitation to a 30-person weekly Eagles tailgate party to anyone willing to part with a bib.