Monday, May 19, 2008

Cleveland recap

Random thoughts from yesterday's Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K:

- Crummy weather. It rained steadily for the hour prior to gun and continued through the first 10k. The good news is that overheating was not a problem. Temps stayed in the 50s through the race. Though the rain dried up and the sun came out for the second half, the wind howled and competitors had to face the prevailing headwind from miles 19-24.

- The course changes were not a huge impact, but I favored the old the route through Ohio City, the West Side Market and over the Lorain Bridge and near Progressive Field (new name for Jacobs Field.) To make this course better, they need to do something about those miles along Lake Erie in the late stage of the race (mile 19-24.) They are always into the wind and I imagine that more people would run Cleveland if not for the course.

- I ran the first 11 miles with a training buddy on his 3:20 pace, then hopped on the bike to watch the race at mile 19. On the way out to mile 19, I spotted Bill Rodgers out for a warm-up on a desolate road along the Marginal. I rode along and chatted with him for a few moments before continuing on. I met him a couple times before, at the Akron Marathon expo and in Boston at his store. Meeting Bill is no novelty anymore, but still cool. I imagine there is no end to runners approaching him at road races.

- Armed with a backpack full of small water bottles, I spectated and cheered down on MLK Blvd near mile 19. I enjoyed being there this weekend and I have missed the Cleveland weekend over the past two years. Next year I will miss, as I plan to participate in MMT.

- My bud fought tough to the end and finished 3:20:5x, with a 1 minute positive split and an eight minute PR. Congrats, Ken!

All in all, not a bad way to watch the Cleveland Marathon. I'm not sure about the owners/organizers of this race, but something is missing from the management aspect. The Cleveland Marathon is not keeping up with the high standards of the Akron and Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathons. I'm not sure what the solution is, but it appears there is a missing element of community outreach and sponsorship that the other Ohio marathons have better grasped. It shows.

Congrats to all on a less than ideal day to race.


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