Friday, June 1, 2018

Cleveland Half Marathon Race Recap

I am on an unofficial Tour de Ohio, aka run all the big name races in Ohio. That meant that sooner or later I would run Cleveland. This year would be the year. Maddie was running her first full and I wanted to be there to support her. The weather is always awful and I never heard good things about the course. Running with Maddie would make this the best reason to check Cleveland off my Ohio list.

Saturday morning I drove myself, Maddie and Kelsey to Cleveland. It was a quick trip which included Kanye and Ryan Cabrera. We found some prime parking for the weekend and headed to the expo.

Bibs acquired and a loop of the expo. We were ready to go.

After some food, beer and a little loop of the city, we decided to call it an early bed time. Maddie had to run a marathon!

Sunday morning came and then so did the rain. I thought we were going to be in the clear, we so weren’t. We stayed in the hotel as long as we could but we had to go. Thankfully, Quicken Loans Arena was open for us and we could use indoor bathrooms and stay dry for a little bit.

We got thrown out in to the rain. We said goodbye to Kelsey and headed in to the corral. We found the 4:45 pacer, who was actually a Pittsburgh runner Maddie runs with. Here goes nothing!


Maddie and I stayed together through the start line mass. It is pouring and foggy and I have no idea where we are anyway. I heard someone playing the wobble within the first mile. Of course I am going to dance. Some jerk behind us yells “if you can wobble while running you aren’t doing it right.” No filter me yells back “NO! If YOU can’t wobble and run then you aren’t doing it right!” Let me tell you, I didn’t hear another word out of him.

The rain calmed down a little after the two mile mark when we got to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There was a small band outside, and that was the last music/entertainment I saw on the course.

The roads were so terrible and it was around this time I saw fell PRO ambassador Kim. I said hello real quick but got back to the task at hand. Pacing Maddie. The rain has stopped but everything was so slick.

We let the pacers do the work. We stayed right by them for the most part. There were three bridges that were super slick. They were open grate and terrifying. We decided to walk one of them because it was that scary.

Right about at the 10k mark Maddie noticed Kelsey was in front of us and there was a hill coming. No man left behind. We scooped her up. I ended up running up the hill, since I’m a super slow walker, and they pushed each other.

After that, I had three cups of beer in less than a mile for the best crowd support on the course. Maddie kept pointing dogs out to me and she kept talking about having to pee. We ended up finding a potty on a home building site so Maddie could pee. We then found Kelsey again while we waited. She told us to go a head. This was about nine miles in and the rain finally stopped.

I knew the split was somewhere around mile 11. I had a little under two miles to keep her distracted. So, I had her focus on little things. I took her shirt since we were drenched so she wouldn’t have to worry about it for the rest of the race. I gave her little marathon tips, grabbed some extra gels for her and told her just to focus on running. Gretchen would be finding her on the back side of the course for some extra distraction. Since there was literally nothing on this course that was going to help.

I saw the split, told Maddie I loved her and was so proud of her and literally started sprinting. I can spring a little over two miles in under 20 minutes. I just want this to be done.

Another out and back helped me see Kelsey one more time and I told her to finish strong. I never saw a mile marker after mile 10 and my watch was super over. I literally have no idea how much is left in this race. At some point I saw the first marathoner come up. I have never had the first marathoner pass me on a course. I’m screaming and cheering him on.

You know what happens when you are running quickly in a group of people who aren’t running as fast a you? You get strange looks. You know what happens when you run fast up a hill in Ohio at the end of a race? You get more strange looks. My final 2ish miles averaged an 8:30 pace.

Can you see Maddie's shirt coming out of mine?

I came up the finish area and literally none of the spectators were cheering. Another race where I have to yell at people to cheer for us. A pretty fitting end to a lack luster race.

Finish time: 2:19.

Kelsey and I headed back to the room to get everything ready and headed back to the finish line. Gretchen was giving us updates and finally we saw our girl. She crushed her sub-5 goal and finished her first marathon!

I will tell you that I will never run that race again. Course was boring. Very boring. For a race that always has terrible weather they need to do something with the course entertainment. The finish line was a cluster and those bridges were terrifying. It is what it is, I finished my 29th half marathon and Maddie finished her first marathon.

Below is the course map and elevation chart.

Did you run Cleveland? What did you think?


  1. I was so happy to see you on the race course that day! It was definitely a course full of potholes and I didn't even see the band lol.

  2. I was about half way through reading this and I thought, this sounds like an awful race. What a contrast from Pittsburgh! Congrats on number 29 anyways!!!