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Record crowds turn out for 34th annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run

Thousands pay tribute to Boston bombing victims via “From Philly to Boston with Love” campaign

On a cool spring morning, more than 38,000 runners, many clad in red socks and other tributes to the recent Boston Marathon bombing victims, raced down Broad Street for the 34th annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run, the nation’s largest 10-miler, sponsored by Independence Blue Cross (IBC).

To show unified support for those affected by the tragic events in Boston, many runners, spectators, and volunteers also wore “From Philly to Boston with Love” stickers over their hearts. Area residents made donations to The One Fund Boston, created by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino, to help those affected by the tragedy. IBC made a $10,000 donation.

Ethiopian Feisha Ayelle took the men’s division with a time of 47:02. Fellow Ethiopian Askale Merachi led the women with 53:46. 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.

“This year’s race excelled in so many ways, from the outpouring of love, compassion and contributions to the Boston bombing victims through the ‘From Philly to Boston with Love’ campaign,  to the funds raised for cancer research, to the City’s phenomenal job ensuring our safety,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO. “As always, it was tremendous to see so many people showing their commitment to exercise and a healthy lifestyle. This is one of our most cherished signature events and we couldn’t be more proud today to be the lead sponsor of this race now and for the past two decades.”

Taking second and third places in the men’s division were Eric Chirchir with a time of 47:13 and Girma Gebre with a time of 47:16. In the women’s division, Tsehay Getiso captured second place with a time of 54:10 and Jane Murage took third place with a time of 54:36.

Tony Nogueira was the first-place men’s finisher in the wheelchair race with a time of 37:15, and Chelsea Crytzer came in first among the women with a time of 54:34.

“Our community really came together today and our workers did an amazing job to make the 2013 race another huge success,” said Jim Marino, race director from the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation. “We once again thank Independence Blue Cross and our other sponsors for their support. Special recognition goes to the fire and police departments for the steps they took to keep everyone safe, and to the volunteers and fans who showed up in large numbers to cheer the runners. This is a very happy day for everyone connected to the race.”

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, was held April 24 at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia and at 100 locations throughout the region. The walk 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. IBC hosts the nation’s largest race with more than 26,000 walkers and more than 105 employer groups from five counties participating.

On October 5, 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 in Philadelphia 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 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 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.

Media Contact:
Ruth Stoolman