PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Registration for the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation's 34th annual Blue Cross road Street Run in May opens at broadstreetrun.com on February 4. For the 17th consecutive year, Independence Blue Cross is the title sponsor of the race, which became the nation's largest 10-miler four years ago.
For the first time, runners will register this year through a lottery to accommodate the large and ever increasing number of registrants. The Blue Cross Broad Street Run, held this year on May 5, began in 1980 with 1,500 runners racing the 10 miles from Broad Street and Somerville Avenue to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Last year more than 34,000 runners completed the event, including more than 12,000 IBC members. The Department of Parks and Recreation anticipates approximately 40,000 runners this year.
"Our first-come, first served system was filling up faster and faster each year. In fact, last year the race sold out in just five hours," said Race Director Jim Marino from the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation, which manages the annual race. "Like most large races of this type throughout the country that also use a lottery entry, we believe it's the best way to ensure the fairest and easiest way for runners to register."
"The new lottery registration gives all runners an equal chance of acquiring a spot," added Marino. "It also extends the registration period, in effect, because there shouldn't be a mad rush like in previous years to enter the first day the race opens. Runners who register at 12:01 am on February 4 when the lottery opens have the same chance of securing a spot as those who enter at 11:59 p.m. February 15 when it closes," he said.
One additional change is that runners who have completed at least 10 Blue Cross Broad Street Run races and who enter the lottery but aren't selected will be guaranteed a spot if they apply for a "veteran" runner spot by March 1, 2013. More information about the lottery can be found on the race website.
The race has raised more than $1.46 million for the American Cancer Society, all of which has gone directly to research and patient care. The $40 race registration fee is the same as last year.
"The first Sunday of May in Philadelphia has become synonymous with the Blue Cross Broad Street Run, and we're pleased that the race continues to grow in popularity each year," said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO. "Running is just one of many ways people can get active, but the important thing is finding and sticking to an exercise routine you love because fitness is vital to good health. That's why we've supported the race for so many years and why we offer a variety of health incentives and programs to encourage our members to make exercise a regular part of their lives."
Independence Blue Cross hosts a very active and popular Blue Cross Broad Street Run Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ibxrun10 and on Twitter at @IBXRun10. Race updates are posted regularly and runners can connect with one another, exchange training tips, and share stories.
Marino also said that the race organizers need 3,000 volunteers this year and encourages people to get involved if they want to be part of the race, but aren't planning to run. "Our volunteers are a huge part of what makes the race successful, providing water and Gatorade, staffing the food stations at the finish, and helping out in a lot of other ways," he said. "We also count on the thousands of spectators each year who line the course cheering the runners and adding to the whole aura of what makes the day so special. Cheer zones will be located along the racecourse and at many of the Dunkin' Donuts stores along Broad Street."
IBC is also sponsoring two other fitness events this year that are open to the public:
National Walk @ Lunch Day, April 24, 2013. Sponsored by IBC, this 1.5-mile walk is one of hundreds that take place simultaneously across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada on April 24 to demonstrate how easy it can be to fit regular exercise into even the busiest of schedules. Nearly 13,500 IBC customers, community members, Philadelphia city employees, and local workforce members participated in the Walk in Center City and at 150 locations throughout the region in 2012.
American Diabetes Association Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes, October 5, 2013. This family-and team-friendly 5K walk on West River Drive raises awareness about and money for research and education about diabetes, a debilitating chronic illness that affects nearly 26 million adults and children, including one in nine people in Philadelphia. Of the 130 participating cities, the 2012 Philadelphia walk was the largest and highest grossing Step Out walk in the nation with 4,700 participants who raised $632,000.
About the Blue Cross Broad Street Run
The Blue Cross Broad Street Run is owned and managed by the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department with the cooperation of city agencies and more than 90 volunteer groups. The race is always held the first Sunday in May, and the course includes a variety of Philadelphia neighborhoods along Broad Street. The race raises funds for the American Cancer Society and supports numerous community and charity programs throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.
About Independence Blue Cross
Proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we have 3.1 million members nationwide. We are enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more about how we're changing the game, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
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Source:Independence Blue Cross