You guys, only a few more weeks until the 40th Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!! Read on for some of my favorite aspects of the race. Keep reading until the end for information on a giveaway!!
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of this race. I was a spectator for my sister starting in 2011 when I was a newbie runner and just starting to have some interest in racing. My sister completed the 1/2 marathon and I’ll never forget the excitement as we watched her make the last turn to head to the finish line. I loved the atmosphere, the excitement that permeated the streets, and the throngs of cheering crowds! I finally made it to the starting line myself in 2014 and have been back every year since.
Here are some of my top reasons for returning year after year:
- It’s my hometown race. Ok so I actually grew up in a suburb of Cleveland but I do consider Cleveland my hometown so there is some pride associated with this race. Cleveland is an up and coming city for many reasons, and marathon weekend is a part of it. Marathon weekend brings out 15,000+ runners and countless spectators. With the current route, it showcases the best the city and surrounding areas have to offer.
- The amazing swag! This year not only do you get the standard medal and t shirt (both of which are sweet this year!) but you also get a limited edition key chain celebrating the races 40th year!
- So many distance options-The list is pretty exhaustive! You can choose from a 5k, 8k, 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon. There is even a kids fun run! There really is something for everyone this weekend!
- A well organized big city race without the hassles of a big city. Getting into Cleveland on race morning is a snap with our public transit options. There are also plenty of parking options if you choose to drive in. Hitting up a few bathrooms and making it to your corral is also a simple task. I’m usually able to make it from parking lot to corral within 20 minutes or so- not bad for such a big race!
- It’s the most Cleveland race ever! 2016 brought some EPIC weather-rain, slow, sleet, hail, thunder and waterspouts on Lake Erie. To cap it off, it was sunny and gorgeous just a few hours after the race ended. To say that you were there in 2016 is to say that you survived quite an impressive year. 2015 brought heat and humidity after MONTHS of cold and snow! To say the weather is an unpredictable is an understatement. This race certainly earns you some bragging rights year after year!
- The Mile 25 Pep Club Dance Party. These folks know how to throw a party!! Year after year, they show up and are there to cheer everyone on in the last mile of their race. They bring a sound system and a ton of energy. And they are out there for HOURS! From the first to the last, they make sure they show how much they care. I look forward to seeing them every year and last year, I got to join their party as a spectator!
- And finally, the folks over at the race care. Every year, they take our feedback and work hard to make it better. Many expressed concern about the course, so after much discussion, it was changed. They are a hard working group of individuals who truly want to make your race experience as great as possible!
In honor of the 40th anniversary of this race, I have one free entry that will be given away on April 30th at 3pm. Head on over to my Instagram for details, or comment below with your all time favorite race distance. Each comment will count for one entry into a random.org drawing! Good luck!