2018 Cleveland Marathon Recap and Review

2018 Cleveland Marathon Recap and Review

2018 Cleveland Marathon

Before I write anything about the 2018 Cleveland Marathon, I want to say thanks to the race organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and everyone else who made this great race happen!

Late last year I was debating about which spring race to run. With two young kids and a hectic schedule, I figured running a local marathon would be the best choice. Since I live in Akron, Ohio, the logical choice was to run Cleveland Marathon.

In addition to wanting to run the Cleveland Marathon, I was impressed with the Ambassadors. Their main goal was to promote the city and race. I thought it would be exciting to try to help support this race by applying to be an ambassador. I submitted my reasoning for wanting to be an ambassador and was lucky enough to be a part of this great group of people.

To be transparent, I have lived in northeast Ohio for over 25 years and lived downtown for 6 years so I may have a slightly biased opinion, but am honest with every aspect of reviewing the race weekend festivities.

This race recap and review will provide details and review of the 2018 Cleveland Marathon expo, race, and post-race festivities.

2018 Cleveland Marathon Review

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If you want a great race in a great city, you NEED to run the Cleveland Marathon. Great organization, easy logistics, and plenty of things to do in the city.

I want to say thanks to the race organizers, volunteers, and sponsors. Without all of you, this wouldn’t be possible.

At the start, there were plenty of port-o-potties, places to relax, and areas to hang out and stay dry before the race. The road conditions were good for the most part with a few potholes here and there, something that is expected in a city that has a ton of snow each year. Water stops were well stocked with everyone was clear with the drink they were serving.

There were 2 big hills that I wasn’t ready for but something that everyone had to deal with so I can’t complain about that. I would say though that after the race I would serve beers from other breweries besides Great Lakes. Cleveland has a ton of great beers and only serving Great Lakes is a missed opportunity to highlight the craft beer market in the area.

As much as I could say the weather wasn’t great, it’s something we all have to deal with when we sign up for any race. It is out of our control and something you have to be prepared for. While I wasn’t a big fan of the rain, I really do think it helped keep me cool.

All I can say is THANK YOU CLEVELAND and THANK YOU CLEVELAND MARATHON. I will certainly be back next year and am hopeful to be an Ambassador in 2019.

Cleveland Marathon Race Expo

In all the years I have run the Cleveland Marathon or Half Marathon, the expo has always had plenty of cool shirts, reasonable prices, and set up in a way that is easy to walk through without feeling claustrophobic.

Usually, I just cruise through race expos as I have way too much running gear. If I showed up at home with more running shoes or shirts, my wife would ask me why I didn’t buy something for our two boys instead.

After picking up my bib, I walked over to pick up my bag with my shirt and goodies. One thing that I didn’t mind was that all the shirts were the same for the event. Some people like to have a shirt that says marathon or half-marathon, but I liked the simple design and fit of this shirt.

Below are a few pictures of the race expo, shirt, and ambassador sign that was at the expo.

2018 Cleveland Marathon Prerace Dinner & Breakfast

With the Cleveland Marathon within driving distance, it was nice to be able to make dinner at home and sleep in my own bed. The day before the race my buddy from Columbus who was running the half came over. We made pasta and garlic bread in an effort to carb load prior to running the next day.

I definitely think I ate a little too much garlic bread but figured I would be ok considering I was running the full marathon on Sunday. After dinner, we relaxed and watched the Cavs game. I could only stay up for the first half and was happy to wake up the next morning to a Cavs victory. Thank you, Lebron.

Race day morning I woke up at 4 am and had some coffee along with a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a banana. At 5:10 am, we got in the car and headed downtown.

2018 Cleveland Starting Line and Weather

Having used to work and live downtown, I had a good idea about parking, I just didn’t know how things would be with the Cavs game from the previous night. I figured that if we arrived before 6 am, we would be ok.

After leaving at 5:10 am and driving for 30 minutes we made it downtown and ended up parking on E. 9th right in front of the Ohio Savings office. This spot was great because I knew it would be easy to get out of the city once the race and after party was over.

One thing that was a big surprise was the weather. A week before the race, the forecast was rain, rain, and more rain. The day before the race, the forecast changed to 5% chance of rain and cloudy. This sounded perfect. When we arrived downtown, it was misty, cloudy, and wet. Something I wasn’t ready for.

Around 6:10 am, we left the car and headed to the start area to use the restroom, hangout and hydrate a little before the race. As I mentioned, it was raining. If you have read my post about race day tips, then you know its best to be prepared for all weather conditions. Having trash bags was key as they kept us warm and dry.

Below are a few pictures of the starting line and other ambassadors.

2018 Cleveland Marathon Race Recap

I am a big fan of the 7:00 am start time of the Cleveland Marathon. With the race being in late May, you really have no idea how the weather will be this close to summer. The weather for the race yesterday was mist, humidity, and clouds.

My goal for the race was to stay with the 3:05 pace group for as long as I can. I have had a solid training plan over the last few months. I tried to be smart with mileage and only increased mileage 10% or so each week.

After the star spangled banner, the race was off. At the start of the race, the weather was rainy, windy, and somewhat nasty. The one thing that kind of sucked was the huge puddles that quickly caused my feet and socks to be soaked. I will tell you that I was happy that I put on plenty of Body Glide on before the race started.

As I mentioned earlier, it was raining when the race started. I ended up wearing the garbage for the first 6 miles of the race. I ended up ripping holes in the garbage bag to try to help keep me cool. With the rain and humidity, I was sweating quite a bit but will tell you that even though my feet were soaked, the rain helped keep me cool. At mile 15 and mile 19, I saw my buddy, Gary. It was great to see a familiar face cheer me on during the later miles.

As the miles ticked on, I stayed with the 3:05 group through mile 21. The leaders of the pace group were inspiring and great to run with, I just struggled to keep up during the later miles of the race. At mile 22, I walked for 15 seconds and continued on to mile 23. At this point, I walked for another 15 seconds. I did this for the next 2 miles as it gave my legs just enough of a breather so that I could continue on at a decent pace.

At mile 25, the half marathon and marathon runners met up. This may have been a saving grace as it provided a great boost of energy for the last 1.2 miles of the race. As we approached the Superior bridge, I knew the finish line was close. I put my head down and continued on knowing that once I crossed the bridge, I would be very close to the finish.

Once I crossed the Superior bridge, I tried to pick things up. I ended up finishing in 3:06, 7:06/mile. Below are a few pictures of me close to the finish line.

Here is the Strava information from the race on Sunday.

2018 Cleveland Marathon Post Race Party

As I crossed the finish line, I was amazed that I actually ran a Boston qualifying time. Even though I wanted to run a 3:05, I was happy that I ran a 3:06 considering the conditions of the race.

After getting my medal, I saw a fellow ambassador, Andrew. He gave me a high five and could probably tell I was surprised at how the race went. I immediately tried calling my wife and was looking for my buddy Kyle, to see how he finished in the half marathon.

Running and marathons are like life. You can only control so much about race day, but like life, you have to keep moving forward and do your best.

After getting a banana and chocolate milk, I couldn’t help being thankful for how things turned out. If you asked me before the race, I wouldn’t have said that 3:06. With the weather and training, I figured 3:10-3:25 was more likely of my finishing time. One of the main reasons I like running is that you get to challenge your mind and body and sometimes get incredible results.

Below are a few pictures after the race.

2018 Cleveland Marathon Review
  • 9/10
    Organization - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Starting Area - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Finish Area - 10/10
  • 7/10
    Crowd Support - 7/10
  • 9/10
    Swag and Medal - 9/10

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