Broad Street Run's Black Market

Schemers are trying to make a few bucks off of some of the roughly 4,800 runners who were not selected in the lottery for the 2014 Blue Cross Broad Street Run despite warnings from race officials.

"Will do online transfer of bid for $100. I had a work trip scheduled and can't change it," read one Craigslist posting

Another seller who advertised on Craigslist is looking for something other than cash. 

"My running partner might not be able to run this year, bad knee," the post reads. "We will have her BIB up for another SEXY lady that is willing to run at a 11 to 10 min/mile pace. Also we do a little fooling around.... You must be hot, young and 'friendly.'"

Race Director Jim Marino had no comment on the sexual solicitation, but says transferring a bib outside of the program setup on the Broad Street Run website is not allowed.

"We totally disagree with any participants doing that," he said. "If we find out who they are we will ban them from future entries in the event."

Shortly after the lottery closed on Saturday, Feb. 15 (after a three-day extension to the original entry deadline due to bad weather) numerous ads from people seeking to purchase, trade, or sell slots in the race began surfacing on the classifieds website.

Registration for the run costs a mere $43 for the approximately 40,000 participants, which is the number of people city and race officials can handle.

Safety and medical concerns helped determine the final number of runners allowed and are the reasons why it is necessary to transfer bibs through the race website, Marino said.

"If someone transfers outside of our program and then gets hurt," he said, "they become a Jane or John Doe on the street."

Medical personnel would not have emergency contact information or the participant's health background, like possible allergies, that would influence treatment, he said.

"It could become a real emergency situation," he added.

Marino says it is likely more people entered the lottery in 2014 than the previous year because they heard all of the 36,412 runners who entered the lottery in 2013 -- the year the lottery system was implemented -- were accepted.

Despite runners' complaints about the lottery process, race organizers say the shift was necessary because the first-come, first-served entry system from prior years discriminated against those who could not access computers when registration opened.

Race organizers maintain the electronic lottery drawing is random and each registrant has an equal chance of being selected, whether runners register as individuals or groups, on the first or the last day of registration.

Lottery winners who cannot participate in the race are allowed to transfer their bib to another runner or defer their entry to another year, but they must do so through an official transfer with the race organizers.

Both buyers and sellers can post requests for bib exchanges through bulletin boards on the race website.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 288 runners had posted to the buyers bulletin board, seeking race registrations. Instead of people unable to make the race filling the sellers bulletin board, it has been inundated with requests from buyers.

Runners can still register to run in support of one of four charities: the American Cancer Society, Students Run Philly Style, Back on My Feet or the Fairmount Park Conservancy. Charity runners are required to commit to a $500 fundraising goal for the charity of choice.

Joe Dougherty, 34, posted an ad on Craigslist seeking a slot in the race. Dougherty was not selected in the lottery, but his wife was. He has since signed up as a charity runner for Back on My Feet, an option he says he is grateful to have.

"I found out that the organization called Back on My Feet had an open slot and I took it. I have to raise $500 before the day of the race or they'll charge my credit card for whatever I don't raise, but I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to raise the funds. I'm glad there is another option for me to be able to participate in the race," he said.

Veterans -- runners who have participated in the race for 10 years or more -- who were not selected in the lottery can also gain guaranteed entry to the race by submitting a request to by March 1.

Marino also warns anyone who plans to run without a bib to stay away.

"We know there are going to be bandits out there," said Marino, who added unregistered participants create the same medical and safety concerns as the unauthorized transfers.

Security is working on how they will handle the "bandits," but there is a possibility they could be pulled off the course, he said.

The Broad Street Run, which has taken place on the first weekend in May for the last 34 years, is the largest 10-Mile race in the country. In 2012 all of the race entry slots were filled within five hours of the registration opening.

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