PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Still in winter's grip, the last thing most people can imagine is a warm sunny morning and running 10 miles down Broad Street. But that didn't stop 30,000 runners and fitness enthusiasts from rushing to register for the 32nd annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run, which sold out in less than a week. On May 1 for the 15th consecutive year, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) is sponsoring the 10-miler, which begins at Broad Street and Somerville Avenue, ends inside the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and is now the nation's largest 10-miler.
To make the race safe and enjoyable, the City of Philadelphia began limiting registration to 30,000 participants for the first time last year. Since it began in 1980 with 1,500 runners, the race has steadily grown, breaking records last year with more than 26,000 runners who finished the race. Money raised from pledges and donations benefits the American Cancer Society.
"Our mission is enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve, and exercise is one of the best ways for people to stay healthy, which is why we're excited to continue our partnership with the City of Philadelphia on this signature springtime race," said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO. "We applaud all the runners, including the more than 10,000 who are IBC members, as they train in the coming months, and wish them a safe and enjoyable run on May 1."
"We're amazed how quickly this year's race sold out, which just goes to show how beloved this run is throughout our region and beyond," said Jim Marino, race director from the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department. "But the race isn't just for runners. We encourage people to consider volunteering to help out on race day to support the runners and the race. And of course, as always, we would love you to join the thousands of people who line the course on race day cheering on the runners."
For help preparing for the race, runners are invited to check out IBC's race website at Blue Cross Broad Street Run which contains running articles, training tips, race photos, and an interactive map of the course.
IBC is also sponsoring two other fitness events this year that are open to the public:
- National Walk @ Lunch Day, April 27. Spearheaded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, this national event encourages employers in cities throughout the United States to hold lunchtime walks for their employees. In 2010, IBC's event was the largest walk among all participating national Blue plans. Regionally, close to 15,000 IBC members are expected to participate this year, including 5,000 people who will participate in a 1.5-mile walk around City Hall.
- American Diabetes Association Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes, October 1. This family-and team-friendly 5K walk on West River Drive strives to raise awareness about and money for research and education about diabetes, a debilitating chronic illness that affects nearly 26 million adults and children. Last year's Philadelphia walk was one of the most successful of more than 160 such walks across the nation, and attracted 3,500 walkers who raised $545,000.
About the Blue Cross Broad Street Run
The Blue Cross Broad Street Run is managed by the Philadelphia Recreation Department with the cooperation of city agencies and more than 45 volunteer groups. The race is 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.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 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 Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Visit IBC's race site at Blue Cross Broad Street Run.
SOURCE Independence Blue Cross