It wouldn't be the New Year if the Cleveland Marathon weekend wasn't on my mind. I do one of the events that 3rd weekend in May every year and usually its the half, except 2016 where I ran the full.
But something was different this year. For some reason last summer I started feeling an urge to do the full again in 2018. Usually I don't repeat full marathons. All five that I've done have been different, mainly because I'm trying to do all 50 states. Plus last time I did the full the weather was absolutely insane: snow, sleet, hail, 30+mph winds, rain, waterspouts on the lake.... And then last year in the half I got heat exhaustion pretty bad.
I knew I'd do some event during that weekend, since I always do, but I decided I needed some big sign to convince me to do the full. Then about a month later, I got an email saying I was selected as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador this year! I was so pumped!
The Cleveland Marathon is so special to me. When I ran the half in 2013, it was my first ever race and the start of my running career. I've seen 2 half PRs and a full PR on that course. It's my hometown race and I love seeing friends on course and cheering. And it's just an incredibly fun race weekend. Which is why I do it every year despite the fact that the weather can be unpredictable. There is no other race that I have repeated more than twice, but 2018 will be my 6th year at the Cleveland Marathon.
As soon as I got the Ambassador email, my mind was made up. That was my sign. I would be doing the full in 2018! My training kicks off in a couple weeks but let's talk about why you should join me for one of the events on May 19th-May 20th (and not one of them has to do with bling, although there's plenty of that too)!
#1 - You have your choice of distances. You can run the 1 Mile, 5k, 8k, 10k, 13.1 or 26.2. Even if you are new to running, you can do this and it's an awesome way to get your start and you couldn't ask for better scenery for it.
#2 - One race not enough for you? No problem. There's a challenge where you can run the 8k and 13.1, 8k and 26.2 or the 5k and 10k.
#3 - You travel through some pretty cool places. If you live here, you know. Cleveland and the surrounding areas are pretty amazing. In addition through travelling through downtown, you hit Ohio City, Gordon Square, Lakewood, Edgewater, Rocky River. All very fun and trendy places. If you choose one of the Saturday events you run at Edgewater Park which has unbelieveable views of Lake Erie and downtown.
#4 - New Course. Well mostly new. Last year, the race directors re-vamped and re-did the course. Spoiler alert: it's even flatter. Just a couple hills here and there on a mostly flat course. And my personal favorite? They took out a nasty beast called the Detroit-Shoreway, aka a four mile, spectator-free, windfilled stretch of hills that used to make up the end of the course. It's gone! Now you travel down Detroit, past restaurants and bars and a street full of spectators!
#5 - Crowd Support. If you're like me, you need spectators when the going gets tough. This race is great for that. With the Shoreway gone, you're hard-pressed to find a part of the course without people cheering. Even in the crazy weather of 2016 there were tons of people out there cheering for us. Although maybe they were there to see the crazy runners? Either way Cleveland's fans rock!
#6 - Post-race fun. There's always a great party at the end with music, good food, and free local beer! And you can bet rain, or shine, or freezing cold, people will be out there celebrating their finish.
So what are you waiting for? Come RunCLE with me in May! It's gonna be great!