2019 Cleveland Marathon Recap and Review

2019 Cleveland Marathon Recap and Review

2019 Cleveland Marathon

It’s hard to start the race recap any other way than to say that my thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Taylor Ceepo. She collapsed less than a mile away from the finish line on Sunday. She ended up passing away a short time after that. While I want to think about how hot it was or how crappy I felt, it really doesn’t compare to anything that happened with Taylor. Another reminder that life is precious and not to be taken for granted. I seriously can’t imagine how hard this must be for her family and friends.

Here is a picture of Taylor that was posted on a number of different sites.

Taylor Ceepo

Picture courtesy of cnn.com

While it’s hard to really think about the actual race itself I still want to thank the race organizers, volunteers, the spectators, and anyone else who helped make this race happen. While so many things can be controlled, the weather cannot. Ironically when I write this, the weather the day after the race was over 20 degrees cooler than race day. Typical Cleveland.

This is my 2nd year of being a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador and am once again thankful for having the opportunity to promote this great race and great city. It is really unfortunate what happened this year, but promise you that the race and organization behind this event are top notch.

Here is a picture before the race with the other Ambassadors. This picture turned out to be awesome. And yes, that is a picture of Brian Burk dressed up as a Cleveland Brownie.

2019 Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors Race Day

Even though I have lived in northeast Ohio for over 25 years and lived downtown for 6 years, my race review is genuine and fair.

This race recap and review will provide details and review of the 2019 Cleveland Marathon expo, race, and post-race festivities.

2019 Cleveland Marathon Review

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If you want a great race in a great city, you should check out the Cleveland Marathon. The 2019 race continued to be well organized with easy logistics, fast course, and amazing spectators.

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

Race day logistics continued to be simple. I parked on E. 9th, making it simple to get out after the race. While the bathrooms were closed this year in Quicken Loans Arena (being renamed to Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse), the start area had plenty of port-o-potties, places to relax, and areas to hang out and stay dry before the race.

The race course was similar to what it was last year. While I like the course, some of the roads have plenty of potholes and there are a few grated bridges that have given some runners trouble. I heard about someone wiping out on the bridge this year which resulted in her knee being scraped up.

The course had 1 steep hill at mile 6.5. While most of the course was flat, this hill is one you won’t forget. I kind of felt like I was moving in slow motion up it. With the heat being as warm as it was, the spectators and volunteers were awesome and had hoses at a number of the stops. Something that helped tremendously. I even stopped at mile 11 to have half a beer, which was the first time I have ever done this.

I know we can’t control the weather, but man was it warm this year. I trained mostly in cooler temps and felt ready to try to run the full. Once the race started, I quickly started to sweat and legs started to feel heavy. Besides starting out too fast, I struggled way more than anticipated. At mile 10 I decided to stick with the half marathon instead of the full marathon. As disappointed as I was, I’m glad I made this decision.

THANK YOU CLEVELAND and THANK YOU CLEVELAND MARATHON. I will certainly be back next year and am hopeful to be an Ambassador in 2020.

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. This year I kind of cruised through the expo as I had two sick boys at home and had to get home to get ready to take my wife out for her birthday.

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

After picking up my bib and my buddy’s bib, I walked over to pick up my bag with my shirt and goodies. While I like the color of the shirt, it really didn’t fit great and thought the font on the shirt made it a little hard to read. I’m all about using shirts to help promote the race and city. A clean simple design is important to do this.

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

2019 Cleveland Marathon Prerace Dinner & Breakfast

With the Cleveland Marathon within driving distance, I usually prefer to stay at home to get a good night sleep. 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.

After eating and relaxing, we watched some playoff basketball and relaxed, all while consuming a ton of water. The forecasted weather was supposed to be warm so I figured that hydrating would be critical.

Race day morning I woke up at 4:15 am and had some coffee along with a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a banana. At 5:15 am, we got in the car and headed downtown. The drive downtown was easy and ended up parking near E. 9th around 5:55 am.

2019 Cleveland Starting Line and Weather

As I mentioned earlier, we ended up arriving downtown just before 6 am. I always like to get there an hour before the race so that we can park and not have to stress about logistics. It also allows me to relax and find a restroom to use before the race.

The weather this year was brutal. Last year was cool and misty. This year it was 70*F at the start and eventually warmed up to be 85*F. This was the warmest day of the year and my body and mind wasn’t thrilled. Unfortunately this isn’t anything we can control.

Around 6:05 am, we left the car and headed to the start area to use the restroom, hangout and hydrate a little before the race. If you have read my post about race day tips, then you know its best to be prepared for all weather conditions. Unfortunately, when it’s this hot there aren’t many things you need to bring other than some fluids.

The starting area had a ton of port-o-pots, which made the lines go quickly. Something we all like to see come race day.

Below are a few pictures of the starting line area.

2019 Cleveland Marathon Race Recap

I am a big fan of the 7:00 am the 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 on Sunday was one of the hottest races I have participated in. I originally was going to run the full but decided early on that I was going to just do the half. It kind of sucks to drop down when working your butt off all year, but I truly think it was the right decision.

My goal for the race was to stay with the 3:00 pace group for as long as I could. I have had a solid training plan over the last few months and figured that wouldn’t be a problem with running the half instead of the full.

After the star spangled banner, the race was off. Immediately, my knee was a little stiff, something that has been bothering me the last few weeks. I was hoping that it would loosen up as I started to run. After a few blocks, the knee felt better but the sweat started dripping. I tend to sweat a lot which isn’t a good thing when the starting temp was 70*F.

I posted my splits below and as you can see, I started out way too fast. I put my watch in the case that my phone was in and figured I would run by feel. Apparently, I felt great for the first few miles. Looking back I wish I had my watch on as I would have forced myself to slow down. The one thing I wish the race had was more clocks throughout the race. The first clock I saw was at the 10K mark. At that point, it was right before a huge hill and knew I was in trouble.

Once I made it up to the hill at mile 6.5, I slowed it down quite a bit and started to struggle a little. Not only did my legs feel like bricks, but my mouth was dry and just didn’t feel like I was moving at all. I continued to push along as best I could. The one good thing about having my watch in my phone case was that I didn’t stress about how slow the miles were.

I knew things were pretty slow after mile 6, but I just continued to move along as best I could. At mile 9 someone went down and they ended up calling the EMS. Seeing that so early on was scary to me, especially after hearing about what happened to Taylor.

At mile 11, I stopped to have 1/2 a beer with some nice folks who were out spectating. While the beer was Miller Lite, it was nice to have a cold beverage. This is the first time I have ever had a beer during a race and actually enjoyed it.

As I made my way back to the city miles 11 to 13 were back towards the city, directly into the sun. I tried to catch shade where I could. At mile 12 I started to feel good and finished a little stronger than the previous 5 miles. Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was me just wanting to finish. Either way, it was nice to feel good at the end. I always like feeling strong at the finish.

Once I crossed the Superior bridge, I tried to pick things up. I ended up finishing in 1:36. Certainly not my best, but I figured that going into the race. Below are a few pictures of me close to the finish line.

Here is the Strava information from the race on Sunday.

2019 Cleveland Marathon Post Race Party

As I crossed the finish line, I was happy to feel strong and to actually be done. The heat had chewed me up and spit me out. After finishing and getting my medal, I hung out and waited for my buddy to finish. We immediately headed over to have a cold Great Lakes beer, which tasted amazing.

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.

Below are a few pictures after the race.

2019 Cleveland Marathon Review
  • 9/10
    Organization - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Starting Area - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Finish Area - 10/10
  • 8/10
    Crowd Support - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Swag and Medal - 8/10

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