Blue Cross Broad Street Run

American Flag-Carrying Runner Explains His Blue Cross Broad Street Run Tradition

Paul Converse carries the American flag while he runs down Broad Street to honor his uncle who served in World War II

Some people carry lucky accessories on Broad Street Run race day, but 61-year-old Paul Converse does something different.

He carries an American flag - a big one.

"Veterans are putting their lives on the line so that we can run in a Broad Street race, so we can do the things we want," Converse said.

His flag-carrying tradition started back in 2015 when he lost his uncle, Bill Converse, who was 90 years old.

Bill was a veteran of the United States Navy and served in World War II on the USS Cabot.

Now, Paul carries an American flag to honor his uncle and every one who serves.

"It’s for him but all of our service men and women because what they sacrifice I think is truly underappreciated," Paul Converse said.

Converse said people came up to him after noticing him running with his flag during the 2018 Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

"I’ve had men and women who have served come up to me and thank me. I’ve had a lot of people ask me why," Converse said.

He is currently the director of Pets for Patriots, a non-profit organization that helps pair veterans with shelter animal companions.

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Whether he’s racing or training, Converse is carrying that flag.

"Your hand can get tired, but generally that’s just what I do. I just literally hold it," Converse said.

He says people at the 2019 Blue Cross Broad Street Run should take a minute to thank the men and women who serve our country.

"If every one of the 35,000 runners of the Broad Street Run were to thank a police officer who’s stopping traffic or an EMT who is there to help us, I think that would have an impact," Converse said.

You can follow our Broad Street Run coverage live on NBC10 May 5 starting at 7:30 a.m.

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