Dennis O’Donnell had arguably the best seat for the 36th Broad Street Run—a bar stool in his converted RV parked across from the Wells Fargo Center.
With a flat screen TV above the counter and plenty of booze on top, O’Donnell’s mancave is the perfect oasis for runners after crossing the finish line. “We have about 30 or 40 friends show up after the race,” the Ambler native said. “It’s a pretty good time.”
He and his wife Trish have been coming to the race for three years; she ran for two and now their daughter runs. “I had started running six years ago as sort of a bucket list thing because I had turned 50,” Trish said.
When asked why he had never participated, Dennis just patted his belly and laughed. After all, someone needs to make the Bloody Marys, mimosas, and very strong Irish coffee.
O’Donnell, who works in data storage for the EMC Corporation, usually uses his RV for storing motorcycles. But over the past eight years, his traveling tavern has been spotted at various sporting events, including an Eagles’ playoff game when he connected it to a hot tub.
In order to snatch up such a prime location, O’Donnell woke up at 4 a.m., arrived by 5 a.m., and then fell back asleep in the RV until the race began at 8 a.m. at Broad Street and W. Fisher Avenue.
Of the 40,000 competing, Haile Mengesha made it to the Navy Yard first as the men’s winner with a time of 47:53. Tigest Jabore was the women’s winner at 53:34. Tony Nogueira won the wheelchair division.
A six-year Broad Street Run veteran, Lisa Bendorf of Acton, New Jersey, bounced along Pattison Avenue, cheering on her dad and best friend, who she even crafted a sign for. “The guy on the sign is Bryen O’Boyle, the former lead singer of Mr. Greengenes, a popular cover band,” Bendorf said. “He’s playing acoustic guitar at Xfinity after the race, and she’s obsessed with him.”
Bendorf and her husband registered to run, but realized they hadn’t trained enough to go the distance. That will definitely change next year, she says. “It’s a fun accomplishment to finish 10 miles, well, as fun as running 10 miles can be,” Bendorf said.
And then there’s Rocky Wilson.
Decked out in a tie-dye t-shirt, a curly rainbow wig, and a butterfly puppet on one hand with a monkey puppet named Bongo on the other, the Camden native serves as a pick-me-up about two miles from the finish line.
“We promise them banana daiquiris after the race,” Wilson, er Bongo said.
He hasn’t run in more than a decade, but he comes every year to show his support.
“It did go through my mind to try and do it next year, but my knees, I don’t know,” Wilson said.
A true lover of theatrics, Wilson portrays Walt Whitman in historical reenactments at schools across the tri-state area.
Paraphrasing his idol, Wilson declared, “I sound my barbaric yawp over the runners of Broad Street!”