The Blue Cross Broad Street Run means different things to the various participants, but for Renie Shields and her son, Jim, it will truly be a family affair.
Mother and son will participate together in the race, which begins at 8:30 Sunday morning.
The 10-mile race will begin at the Central High athletic field at Broad Street and Somerville Avenue. It will conclude at the Philadelphia Navy Yard at the end of Broad in South Philadelphia.
Renie Shields is a three-time champion, having won three consecutive years (1985-1987), but she hasn't participated in about a decade. Her 22-year-old son persuaded her to give it a try.
"He will be running, I will be jogging," she said, laughing.
Even though she hasn't run the race in a while, Shields has stayed active. She competed in the 2010 Philadelphia Marathon.
So she will revive some memories and savor the chance to be with her son, a former runner at St. Joseph's Prep.
"It's good to see he enjoys running as I do, but he will be way ahead of me," she said.
This event has become among the most popular in the country. Meet director Jim Marino, of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, said there were 40,000 entries, and those slots sold out in six hours in February.
According to Marino, 31,700 were registered last year. The official records indicate that 25,234 finished the 2011 race.
This will be the 33d annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run, and Marino marvels at the growth. When he became director in 1998, there were 6,742 entrants.
"I remember - about not that many years ago - when everybody said they would be happy if they got 12,000," Marino said. "Now look at it."
The first year that featured more than 12,000 participants was 2004 (12,177).
"What has happened is that we have gotten a lot more women in the race," he said. "Still, I never thought it would grow this large in the last five years."
What: 33d annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run
When: Sunday, 8:30 a.m.
Where: The 10-mile race begins at Broad and Somerville, near Central High's athletic fields, and ends at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.
Participants: A record field of 40,000 is expected for the race that is sold out.
Course records: Patrick Cheriuyot, 45 minutes, 14 seconds (2007); women: Catherine Ndereba, 53:07 (1999).
For coverage, go to
philly.com/BroadStreetRun: Live coverage starting at 8:30 a.m. Look for live tweets from the course, photos, and a dashboard of live results. Track the leaders - or any runner - live at www.philly.com/
Parking update: Because of the 76ers-Bulls playoff game at 1 p.m. Sunday, the Wells Fargo Center complex will keep the gates of its parking lots locked throughout the morning until the 76ers crowd arrives. So race participants are urged to carpool or take public transportation to the area near the finish line. All other stadium parking lots and FDR Park will be open at