Record crowds turn out for 33rd annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run
More than 33,907 runners cross the finish line in the nation's largest 10-miler
Philadelphia, PA - May 7, 2012 - Runners were out in record numbers, young and old, veterans and first-timers, racing down Broad Street from Somerville Street to the Navy Yard in the 33rd annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run, the nation's largest 10-miler, sponsored by Independence Blue Cross (IBC).
Kenyan Henry Rutto took the men's division with a time of 47:05. Ester Erb of Blowing Rock, NC, led the women with 55:26. The top winners each received a $1,500 prize and an etched glass trophy and will have their names added to the Independence Cup, a silver trophy engraved with the names of winners from the past three decades.
"Once again, the Blue Cross Broad Street Run was a huge success, beginning with a record sell-out in five hours and ending with nearly 34,000 runners crossing the finish line on a cool Sunday morning," said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO. "We are proud to sponsor this race for the 16th consecutive year and thrilled to see so many people demonstrating their commitment to exercise and good health. Thanks to the fans, the City of Philadelphia, all the volunteers, and the tens of thousands of runners who make this race the biggest and most popular 10-miler in the United States."
Taking second and third places in the men's division were Birhanu Feyissa Alemu with a time of 48:43 and John Itati with a time of 48:59. In the women's division, Askale Merachi captured second place with a time of 55:51and Sarah Cummings took third place with a time of 56:53.
Tony Nogueira from Glen Ridge, NJ, was the first-place men's finisher in the wheelchair race with a time of 36:58, and Chelsea Crytzer of Parsippany, NJ, came in first among the women with a time of 51:27.
"We never dreamed how popular this race would one day become and we're thrilled to not only be the largest 10-miler in the country, but now among the top 10 largest races of any size in the U.S.," said Jim Marino, race director from the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation. "We're grateful for the continued support of Independence Blue Cross, and we thank all the city departments, including the fire, police, and the many volunteers and fans whose commitment and dedication make this race the amazing event it is year after year."
Among those running, more than 13,000 were IBC members, including 81-year-old Dick Hoban, one of the oldest male entrants, who finished second in the 80-98 age division with a time of 1:59:47. This was Dick's 28th time running the race. Two other IBC members, Sandra Folzer, 72, and Bill McClellan, 76, also finished first in their age groups, with times of 1:26:45 and 1:29:28, respectively.
The Blue Cross Broad Street Run is the second of three annual signature fitness events that IBC sponsors each year. The first, National Walk @ Lunch Day, held April 25 at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, is a national event spearheaded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and held simultaneously in cities in all 50 states to encourage employees to walk at lunchtime. More than 13,500 walkers turned their working lunch into a walking lunch, with more than 100 employer groups from five counties participating.
On October 6, IBC will sponsor the American Diabetes Association event "Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes." This family- and team-friendly 5K walk on Martin Luther King Drive raises awareness about and money for research and education about diabetes, a debilitating chronic disease that afflicts one in nine people in the greater Philadelphia region. Last year's Philadelphia walk was the most successful of more than 150 such walks across the nation, and attracted 3,200 participants who raised $577,590.
About the Blue Cross Broad Street Run
The Blue Cross Broad Street Run is managed by the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department with the cooperation of city agencies and more than 90 volunteer groups. The race is held the first Sunday in May, and the course goes through or near various Philadelphia neighborhoods along Broad Street. The race raises funds for the American Cancer Society. Visit the race website at Blue Cross Broad Street Run.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 74 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit us at ibx.com. Fan us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter@ibx.