Non-Runners Cashing in on Broad Street Run Bibs

Bib buyers, bandits pose possible problems for race organizers

Whoever thought that not running a major race could be so profitable.

If you haven’t signed up yet for the 31st Annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run on Sunday you are -- well you know the term. The 10-mile race down Broad Street sold out after hitting its 30,000 cap a few weeks ago.

But, that doesn’t mean that runners looking to participate in the annual event aren’t getting into the race.

People are selling their entries (in most cases at a profit) on Craigslist. Since Monday there have been about a dozen listings for coveted bib numbers and timing chips.

Some of the sellers are just looking for the $30 to $33 entry fee back but others are trying to grab up to 60 bucks for a number.

It’s a seller’s market considering that desperate runners are offering up to $75 cash to enter.

Noelle Ely has had more than 10 offers for her bib ranging from $40 to $75. She even got offered Phillies tickets. But, she is selling to the highest bidder, she said.

Another seller got $40 for her bib after posting an ad on Craigslist offering it up for face value.

"She gave me $40 cash because its what she had," said Jennifer Birch who can't run because of previous engagements.
"A bunch of people emailed me and continue to email me because I haven't deleted the post yet."

"I sold my bib not because of the money but because i didn't want to prevent another runner who wanted to run from running," said Birch who used directions on the BSR website to exchange her number -- a feature that is no longer available.

But, running with another person’s race number poses a huge problem for organizers.

“I have a real concern with it,” said race organizer Jim Marino. “They’re putting stress on the event.”

Race officials would have trouble identifying a runner if something went wrong, he said. And, at the BSR things go wrong sometimes like two years ago when 29-year-old Robert Massaroni collapsed and died at the finish line.

This year was the first time the race was capped much to the chagrin of eager runners.

Marino explained the cap. He pointed out that organizers couldn’t go above Olney Avenue at the starting line and that they wanted to ensure enough medical personal, water and snacks to accommodate the thousands of runners.

“It’s a safety issue,” he said.

Unlike last year when nearly 5,000 people signed up the week of the BSR this year none will.

The trendy race sure has come a long way in the last decade. Less than 6,700 runners finished the 2000 race and ever since the numbers of participants have skyrocketed.

Last year things got really crowded with 27,000 runners signed up. This year things could get even worse with another 3,000 “registered” runners.

Note we said “registered” numbers. There really is no way to prevent “bandit” runners from just jumping into the crowded field similar to what thousands do each year at the Boston Marathon.

“We hope…that they don’t take away from runners who did pay,” Marino added.

Even though there is no hope to really stop bandits or bib buyers on the open course Marino hoped that at least they would take some safety measures.

“I hope they put their information on the back of their bib,” Marino said. That way if something goes wrong emergency officials would know who to contact.

The gun goes off the for Broad Street Run Sunday at 8:30 a.m.

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