Q&A

Blue Cross Broad Street Run Returns to the Heart of Philadelphia

After four decades, the 2021 Blue Cross Broad Street Run is taking place in person in the fall for the first time. Here's our live coverage of a race like none ever before.

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What to Know

  • The 2021 Blue Cross Broad Street Run -- run every year since 1980 -- is taking place in-person in the fall for the first time today.
  • Runners need to prove COVID-19 vaccination status to participate in the run down Broad Street.
  • The 2021 10-miler features a different course and finish line area. There are also limits on who can attend the race expo.

Lee la historia en español aquí.

Today, thousands of runners will lace up their sneakers for the annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

"It’s the largest, fastest, and most popular 10-mile race in the country drawing more than 40,000 participants from all over the world," race organizers say on their website.

But, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed this year's road race through the heart of Philadelphia to make it like none of the previous four decades of races with a new course, different finish line and a mix of virtual and in-person participants, with nearly 19,000 runners expected, according to Philadelphia.

Basically, this won't be your normal Blue Cross Broad Street Run. 👟

Here are the answers to 10 questions about this year's race:

When, where does the race start?

The 2021 Blue Cross Broad starts at 8 a.m. on Sunday at the normal spot at North Broad Street and Fisher Avenue in North Philadelphia. That's near Einstein Medical Center.

Unless you're an elite runner or wheelchair athlete, don't expect to start going right at 8 a.m. The rest of us will be divided into seven waves based on estimated finish time.

Click here to get maps of the start area and waves.

Still want to run, but not signed up? Sorry, but you're going to need to wait for the 2022 BCBSR as signup for the 2021 race is closed. You can even start your training now to make sure you're ready.

When, where can I pickup my bib, race shirt?

The 2021 Penn Medicine Health and Wellness Expo takes place in its normal location (The Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City Philadelphia) in the days leading up to the race.

The expo runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9 inside Hall F at 1101 Arch Street.

You can pick up your race bib and shirt, buy official race merchandise and check out vendors -- like normal -- but there are changes due to COVID. Properly fitting face masks are required for everyone inside the convention center and expect fewer people at the expo (more about that below).

It's unclear what the freebie situation will be, you're just going to have to find that one out for yourself.

Click here if you need another registered runner to pickup your gear.

Can I bring my family members who aren't running to the race expo?

Nope. Only fully vaccinated runners and volunteers are permitted to go to the expo due to COVID changes. So, leave the kiddos, friends and other loved ones at home (unless they are running the race).

When do I need to upload my proof of COVID vaccination?

Runners must upload proof of having received either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines and are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Runners need to upload vaccine proof using this webpage by Friday, Oct. 8. You can check to make sure they have your vaccine info by clicking here.

If you aren't fully vaccinated -- or don't want to share your vaccine status -- then you can participate virtually, race organizers said.

What's the weather looking like for race day?

The NBC10 First Alert Weather Team is closely tracking your race day forecast. As of Saturday, the trend called for steady light rain or drizzle during the race. Expect it to be breezy with temps in 60s. It will be rather humid as well, so be sure to drink lots of water before, during and after the race even if your clothing is wet from the rain.

Dress accordingly -- including protecting for chafing -- and make sure your sneaker soles aren't worn down as that could cause your feet to slip along the way. You also want to be on the lookout for puddles to jump.

The best bet is to keep checking back (here's a link to our First Alert Weather page) throughout the week and into the weekend for specific weather details. Also download the NBC10 app for any race day weather updates.

How do I get to the starting line?

There are many options for getting to the starting line of the 41st annual race. Just a reminder for first timers or those who haven't run the race in a while, that the BCBSR starts in a different part of the city (North Philadelphia) than it finishes (South Philadelphia).

SEPTA is offering free rides on its Broad Street Line subway to the starting area and for runners after the race as long as they have on their race bib. Basically, you can park at the Stadium Complex in South Philly for free, get on at NRG Station and ride the train to the start near the Olney Transportation Center. Express trains begin leaving NRG Station at 4:10 a.m. The ride is normally around 35 minutes, SEPTA says.

For people who plan on accessing the subway along Broad Street, be warned: "Many trains are crowded and may not stop at some locations going north, so please allow enough time to get to the Broad Street Run start area," the race website says.

People not running should also be prepared for bus route detours -- we have the full list of SEPTA changes and road closures here.

It's in the fall, it has a new finishing line and spectators are being discouraged from showing up, but that won't stop thousands from running the Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Here are details on road closures and SEPTA plans.

Runners -- about 17,250 are expected to take part in person -- can also drive to the start area (parking could be tricky, however), get dropped off by friends or family, take an Uber or Lyft, ride a bike or even walk to the start.

The Central High School Athletic Field at North Broad Street and Somerville Avenue is the traditional warm-up/meeting area. However, non-runners aren't allowed to be there this year and runners must be masked before the race begins.

If you want to check your extra stuff (maybe a rain jacket), gear check buses will be near the starting line and will then haul your things to the finish line while you run.

What's the course for the 2021 race?

The starting line is the same, but the finish isn't and the race is straying from its namesake road along the way.

Instead of hugging Philadelphia City Hall like in past years, runners in Center City will go turn right onto JFK Boulevard. The race website picks up the change from there:

"They will turn left onto 16th Street; run south to Market Street; make a left on Market Street for one block before following 15th Street south to South Penn Street in order to return to Broad Street."

Once back on Broad Street, keep an eye out for the NBC10/Telemundo 62 Smile Cam positioned at South Broad and Spruce streets so that your fans can catch a glimpse of you during the race.

The dash down South Broad Street is the same up until the Stadium Complex. This year, the race won't end in the Navy Yard and instead will loop past Citizens Bank Park (no Phillies playoff baseball going on there) over the last mile of the race. To do so, runners will turn left before Pattison Avenue.

"The course follows Hartranft Street to Citizens Bank Way, where runners make a right before hitting Pattison Avenue," the race website says. "The final stretch of the 2021 race course is along Pattison Avenue, and runners will cross the intersection at Broad Street just before they reach the finish line."

Click here to get the course map.

The course is different, but you can still expect plenty of water stations along the way. And, the course is still USATF sanctioned and certified.

What should I expect at the new finish line area?

The Navy Yard is out, the NovaCare Complex is in for the 2021 BCBSR.

Due to Navy Yard construction, the finish line is being moved to the western side of South Broad Street at Pattison Avenue. Medals and the awards ceremony will take place in the parking lot next to the Philadelphia Eagles' practice facility.

Only runners will be allowed in the finish line area so don't expect the same festive atmosphere you might be used to seeing after completing the race. Runners must also be masked in the finish area.

Click here for the finish area map.

Want to still celebrate afterwards? Chickie’s & Pete’s at 1526 Packer Avenue in South Philly will be hosting the "Official Blue Cross Broad Street Run After Party."

Are spectators allowed to cheer on runners?

No, unlike every previous Broad Street Run, this year, spectators are being urged to stay home. There will be no cheer zones along the course or family meet-up areas at the finish line in 2021.

Friends and families can watch the race live on NBC10 and Telemundo62 Sunday morning instead.

"Spectators and families are encouraged to cheer runners on virtually this year, by tuning into the livestream online or on NBC10," race organizers said. "Spectators are strongly discouraged from attending the run in person this year."

A good bet for runners is to set up the race to record on your DVR and then you can relive your experience with loved ones while wearing your finisher medal. You can even share your experience on social media using the #ibxrun10 hashtag.

What if I opted to run the race virtually?

You can choose to run your 10 miles at any point between now and Sunday. About 1,500 runners have taken this option. You must submit your results by Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.

The virtual results will be eventually merged with the in-person race results. However, virtual runners don't qualify to win any prizes or money. So, be honest when uploading your results as there is no incentive to lie and many of us aren't in the same running shape during this pandemic.

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