My Cleveland Marathon Experiences

While researching a couple things for this post, I stumbled upon some really cool Cleveland Marathon Facts.

  1. First Cleveland marathon was in 1976 and Jesse Owens fired the gun at the starting line.
  2. Cleveland Marathon has gone through many name changes/sponsors. “The Revco” Marathon and 10K, the CVS Marathon and 10K and now the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K.
  3. The original marathon course started in Hudson, traveled through Twinsburg, Solon and then ended in Cleveland. No offense but that course sounds terrible and hilly. I don’t want to hear any complaints about the Cleveland Marathon course now.
  4. At the start of the Revco Marathon in 1992, the temperature was 68 degrees and as the winners crossed the finish line the temperature had risen to 77 degrees! (sounds similar to the 2012 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.)
  5. The half marathon was not added until 2005!
  6. 16 year old running sensation Alana Hadley,  is making the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon her debut marathon. Her half marathon time is 1:16:41. I wish I could be at the finish line to watch her finish the marathon.

Cleveland Marathon Experience No. 1- Sometime in the 1990s

The reason I was researching the Cleveland Marathon was because I wanted to share my many Cleveland Marathon Experiences. Out of nowhere I remembered my very first Cleveland experience was as a spectator in the early 90s! I don’t remember the exact year but I remember going with my Aunt Denise and little cousins to downtown Cleveland very early in the morning. We stationed ourselves around Public Square (I think) and anxiously waited for my Uncle Tom to run by us. He had been training to run the 10K. I still remember when you could see the first runners coming in. My cousins and I got all excited, “is that him? is that him?” My Aunt laughed as a bunch of Kenyans flew by us, obviously not him. Sometime went by and we eventually saw my Uncle. We cheered and were excited to see him. I remember at the time I didn’t know how far a mile was, let alone 6.2 of them.

Found this on Ebay! Who sells past medals!?!?

Cleveland Marathon Experience No. 2- May 1999

My next Cleveland Marathon Experience was as a volunteer. My high school track team volunteered on the course every year. It was 1999 (wow do I sound old) and all we had to do was stand on our assigned street and make sure cars didn’t go onto the course. At the time I was a sprinter and pole vaulter on the track team. I whined when I had to run more than 400 meters. Yet here I was watching the marathon. I definitely had an itch to run more after watching the race. Yet still I had no idea how far a marathon was. I knew it was many miles but couldn’t tell you the exact amount.

Cleveland Marathon Experience No. 3- May 18, 2008

In 2008 I began training for my first marathon. Being from Cleveland, I couldn’t imagine any other race for my first marathon. My Uncle Tom, who I watched run the 10K in the 90s, was also running the marathon. I was so excited that we would both share our first marathon experience together. Sadly, a couple weeks before the marathon I got sidelined with an injury. Luckily, I was able to take a few weeks off and come back to run the half. I remember it rained that morning but stopped just before the race started. I had not run a race in the rain before so I was happy it cleared up. It was only my second half marathon but I shaved 10 mins off my PR and ran a 1:43:23.

Picture of my Uncle's medal.
Picture of my Uncle’s medal.

 Cleveland Marathon Experience No. 4- May 17,2009

This was “The Marathon” for me. Everything had lined up perfectly, weather was amazing and I didn’t over dress. I had glued myself to the 3:40 pace group and stayed with them for as long as I possibly could. I eventually lost them but held onto my pace as best I could. I saw my family at mile 23 and my Mom jumped around like a crazy person yelling “it’s only a 5K from here! You got it!”. I think she even jumped in with me for a couple seconds. But that was all I needed to hear. “Just a 5K”. I crossed the finish line in 3:40:12. BOSTON QUALIFIER! Just barely but I did it.

Cleveland Marathon Experience No. 5- May 16, 2010

I ran Boston in 2010 and really wasn’t sure how my legs were going to be after that. So in 2010, I decided to run the half instead. I couldn’t imagine not being a part of The Cleveland Marathon Experience. This was another perfect weather day but I barely made it to the start line. I had waited to long to get in line for the bathroom and made it to the start line less than 30 seconds before the gun went off. I learned my lesson to always go to the bathroom early and get to your corral on time. For this race, I ended up running a 1:45:14, about a month after running Boston.

2010 Finish Line
2010 Finish Line

Cleveland Marathon Experience No. 6- May 15, 2011

This was the year I became an Official Cleveland Marathon Blogger! I’m not sure they could find a bigger and more loyal fan of their race. This was also the year I raised money for Autism. Great foundation if you want to raise money. The weather for this race was less than ideal. It was cold, rainy and windy. I am always cold so I was freezing during this race. I started having some shin pain early on in the race. Odd for me because I didn’t have any problems during my training. By mile 20, I had my doubts on if I would finish. I kept thinking my legs were going to quit. I stuck through it though and made my way to the finish. Not my best time, 4:00:04 but if I wouldn’t have finished, they never would have snapped this picture that became “The Logo”

The original "Logo" picture
The original “Logo” picture

Cleveland Marathon Experience No. 7- May 20, 2012

In 2012, I signed up for the Cleveland Marathon again and was also asked to be an Official Blogger for the second year in a row. I had big goals for this race and trained my heart out. I trained hard, saw major results and was expecting a huge PR. Sadly, about a month before the race, I started having IT band issues. I did everything I could to get healthy so I could run. However, on race day, all my friends toed the line for the race and I was left spectating from the sidelines. I was crushed. Cleveland is my race. Still, I cheered my heart out for all of my friends that day. I couldn’t run but I was armed with my cowbell and cheered them on as they ran. I felt awful for them as the temps climbed that day. It reached 78 for a high and when you are running that feels awful but all of my friends trudged through and finished! 2012 wasn’t all that bad because it was also the year that I became “The Logo”.  My picture above from 2011 was on promotional material, posters flyers etc for the 2012 race.

The Logo
The Logo

I can’t tell you how my Cleveland Marathon Experience No. 8 will be for another 10 days. However, I think it is safe to say that I am a Cleveland Marathon lifer. I plan on running this race every year for as long as I can. When a time comes that I can’t run, you’ll see me volunteering or spectating.

Cleveland is my city and I will run it. When I can’t run it, I will support it.

Cleveland Marathon History
Temperature 1992
Revco Marathon

7 thoughts on “My Cleveland Marathon Experiences

  1. I am going to agree with you on being a Cleveland Marathon lifer! I cannot imagine not being involved with this race in some way, shape, or form in years to come! 10 days and counting!!

  2. I still have my kids medal from when it was the Revco Cleveland Marathon. I’m a little sad I won’t be running this year. Being my first half, and my PR course, this race will always have my heart!

  3. Why didn’t you share the story about the homeless guy trying to pick you up at the marathon when you were volunteering as a teenager.

  4. 16 years old? Jesus. I don’t think I’d let my kid run a marathon until at least 18. That just seems really young to me and SO hard on the body during such a crucial time of development.

    Also, I love that you were rocking mint green in 2010 before it became popular!

    Excited for you!!!

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