After weeks of waiting we finally have an idea what the Cleveland Marathon Course will be like and I have never been more excited!!!! I’m hoping to go drive the course this weekend (or parts of it at least) and scope out any hills that I’m not aware of. Off the top of my head it looks very flat and that has me thrilled. I’ll be sure to let you know what I think and hopefully take some pictures of the course.
Every year I wonder why we don’t run farther into the west end of Cleveland because there are so many amazing spectators there. This year we are doing just that! It’s like the people at Cleveland Marathon are giving us exactly what we have been asking for! Oh wait, Cleveland Marathon sent out a survey asking us what we wanted in the course. They asked, we answered and they listened! We get to run a large portion of the race through the section of Cleveland with overwhelming crowd support!
Another great thing with the out and back course is that your family and friends can see you twice without having to move or travel throughout the city! They can set up to cookout or picnic at Lakewood Park and have an after party waiting for you when you finish the race. They can also set up at Edgewater and watch you run the shoreway. That’s right; once again we get to run on the shoreway. I always love this because this is the only time of the year you can run on the freeway. It’s the little things like that that make me feel like a rebel.
One more thing I love is that you will be able to see runners on your way out and back on this course. Depending on where you are in the race you might be able to see the leaders on the course, or you might see your friends who are either ahead of you or behind you. I love being able to see all my friends and family who are running the race while I am running the race too!
However, I’m a little surprised by a few negative comments I have seen about the course. The Cleveland Marathon sent out a survey and asked what we as runners wanted in our course this year. I loved that they did that. The Cleveland Marathon truly cares for its participants and they always think of runners first. I think people fail to see that because they are complaining about every little thing they can. (It’s Cleveland, it’s what we do apparently) However, they asked us runners what we wanted in our course and did their best to make as many of us as possible happy. Marathoners are a tough breed, so a complaint about small things like “the final 2 miles will be boring” really surprises me.
Take the ever-famous Boston Marathon course. If you were to run that course without any spectators it would absolutely suck. It’s super hilly and hard on the body, but the amount of spectators that show up for that race would blow you away. The whole city shuts down and comes out to watch this annual race. The spectators are definitely a big part in making that race enjoyable.
Last spring I ran the Athens Marathon and it will go down in history as the most boring race I’ve ever run. You literally go out and back on the course and there are maybe 10 spectators the entire course. You don’t know a boring course until you’ve done this one.
If you have negativity towards the new race course because it doesn’t go on the east side this year then maybe the problem lies in this divider line of east vs. west that we have. Maybe the issue is with the founders of Cleveland who made the interesting things to see on the east side so far from downtown Cleveland.
I was born and raised on the east side of Cleveland and didn’t move to the west side until my mid 20s. All of my family and 90% of my friends still live on the east side. I like to think I have an unbiased opinion since I have lived on both sides of downtown. When it comes down to planning this race I would easily have the course go through the west side because it is so flat, has great crowd support and showcases local areas so close to downtown.
With 11 marathons under my belt, I’ve participated in some of the top big marathons and some tiny local marathons. I’ve ran in freezing temps and extremely hot and humid temps. Runners are a tough group and we run these races for fun. Let’s remember that when we toe the line on May 18th with 20,000 other runners.
Disclosure: While I am an official blogger for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon the thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I would participate in the Cleveland Marathon whether I am a blogger or not. I participate because I love Cleveland, I love running and I love the hard work that goes into this race.