Decent marathon, but the little things count (about: 2004) Course: 4
D. H. from Pittsburgh (5/1/04) 11-50 previous marathons
| 2 Cleveland Marathons
There's not too much to add to the many comments already entered. The course is fair, but not flat, as many were expecting. There are a couple of significant uphills, including one in the 24th mile. I never saw an elevation profile for the course - if there was one, it was well-hidden. Most marathoners don't mind a moderately-challenging course, but we'd like to know when the hills are coming! This race has the potential to improve significantly next year - let's keep our fingers crossed.
Great 1st marathon (about: 2004) Course: 5
Fans: 4 L. E. from Lakewood, OH (4/30/04) 1 previous marathon
| 1 Cleveland Marathon
As a 1st-time marathoner, I obviously can't compare this race to other marathons. However; I've run enough other races to know a well-organized event when I see it.
The course was awesome, except for that 3rd St. hill at mile 23. MLK was beautiful! Since the course changed and took Lakewood out of the route, I believe the race lost a lot of crowd support. I live in Lakewood and spoke to many folks who have made a tradition out of pulling up a chair in their front yard to watch the runners. Of course we suffered in the spectator area this year because of the rain, and can ya blame them? I was happy to see the people I saw, and they were great. My favorite was the woman near the finish line who tore an orange sign off of the lightpost and folded it over to show just the 'NO STOPPING' part. I laughed.
The water stops every 1.5 miles are totally adequate. At one water stop, the volunteers had trouble keeping up with the runners, but at every other stop there was an abundance of staff and drink. The porta-potties, which were also every 1.5 miles, seemed adequate also. I had to wait for 1 person when I stopped to use the potty. No big deal, I needed to stretch anyway.
I would've like to see the clock time at every mile, but I also could've worn my watch, so I really don't have anything to complain about.
Somebody mentioned the relay exchange point being right on the course and not liking that. It was a little disheartening to see those people stopping, but it's not like I didn't know I was in it for 26.2. I did lose my pace team leader at that point and never found her again, partly due to the fact that the pacers only ran half the course each, and I didn't know who the new one was... and partly because I WENT OUT TOO FAST and started to suck about then.
The expo was not that exciting, and the guy at the chip booth on Friday night was a jerk. The girl at the packet pick up desk didn't know what to do about the fact that I have my own chip, which seemed odd to me as many runners have their own chips.
Overall, I was impressed and... unless a miracle takes me to Boston, I'll be running again next year.
Good course, but... (about: 2004) Course: 4
B. A. from Akron (4/30/04) 11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Cleveland Marathon
If you're looking for a flatter course, good luck. I've run in 8 different cities and this was far and away the flattest course. I agree with many of the comments. The expo and the T-shirt were lame, but who really cares about that stuff. The plastic cups and holes in the street were something that should just simply never happen. After the first hole, I didn't expect to see any more but there were at least a handful more. I just hope nobody was hurt because they were extremely dangerous. Definitely a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Incorrect mile markers at 19 and 20 are bush league. How could this possibly happen? Did 8-year olds mark the course? The course was a nice run but the overall experience lacked the professionalism of any other race I've been in. I'll never go back until I hear that they've brought in a new race director and that many of the problems were addressed.
-AH from New York
More uphill than I expected (about: 2004) Course: 3
A. H. from New York (4/29/04) 1 previous marathon
| 1 Cleveland Marathon
I am a native Clevelander, so I loved the chance to run around my hometown.
I was more than a little frustrated when I began to sense that almost the entire second half was uphill.
I did love the run out to Lakewood, as well as up MLK and through University Circle.
Luckily I didn't need to stop at the port-a-potties, but I think I only recall seeing about 6 altogether. Maybe this is not a big deal for men, but women don't usually have the option of the bushes. More port-a-potties please.
I love my t-shirt and my medal. And the cinnamon crunch bagels from Panera are my favorite! And Twinkies too?! Yum.
Please don't use the plastic cups again. That was a bit of a hazard at some spots.
The weather was perfect running weather, in my opinion. And the few fans who 'weathered' it were awesome. It was the perfect kind of weather for those foil blankets--I was wishing they had those.
Good expo. I was too tired for the after-party, so I can't comment on that.
I probably won't run this course again--I need something flatter. But I did enjoy the race very much. It was a challenge, and I'd recommend it.
Cleveland Does Rock & Roll (about: 2004) Course: 5
T. M. from Cleveland (4/29/04) 11-50 previous marathons
| 6+ Cleveland Marathons
Congratulations to Cleveland on their new course! I liked the old route but this new one is fantastic. I loved running along w/ all those views of Lake Eire, the Rock and Roll, the Browns Stadium, the Indian's Jacobs Field, Playhouse Sq., the West Side Market, the Art Museum, Case Western Reserve University, CSU, the mansions along Edgewater Drive, and especially the fast miles in the Cultural Gardens along Martin Luther King Blvd. Cleveland looked great! This is one of the best marathons in the Midwest and its organization is second to none. I ran w/ experienced runners from Virginia and New York, who also thought the new course upgraded the race considerably.
Thumbs up for the new course (about: 2004) Course: 4
Fans: 4 J. H. from Strongsville, OH (4/28/04) 6-10 previous marathons
| 3 Cleveland Marathons
Course: The new course is quite a bit better than the old, out-and-back-on-Lake-Avenue course of prior years. I think the organizers really listened to the runners. The new course hits a lot of Cleveland's highlights... Browns Stadium, Jacobs Field, Playhouse Square, Severance Hall, the Art Museum... and routing the course through Rockefeller Park was a terrific move. My only reason for not giving it 5 stars was the repetition at the end (which, as one previous responder noted, meant a second trip up the West 3rd Street hill... not very welcome at mile 24!).
Organization: I'm always amazed at how many runners whine about the littlest details. The race organizers could provide an expo with hundreds of exhibitors, an entire wall of port-a-lets at each mile, U2 jamming at the finishing line, a post-race spread catered by Michael Symon, and diamond-encrusted finisher's medals... and somebody would still whine about the T-shirt. You can't win with some people (and it's not worth trying).
Anyway, the organization was good. The roads were safe and well protected from cars (which I think is the most important thing); the check-in at the expo was fast; there were markers and clocks at every mile (although mile 19's was definitely misplaced); the post-race food was fine; the aid stations were plentiful (17 or 18 of them, which is typical for most marathons). Some of the stations were under-staffed. Since that was not a problem in past years, I'm guessing that many volunteers woke up on race morning, saw the rain, and hopped back into bed.
Fans: there weren't many of them, but it was a lousy day to watch a race... rainy and windy. There were a few pockets of spectators, and they made plenty of noise. If you want wall to wall fans, you know where they are... NYC, Chicago, the other mega-races.
Overall, I liked the race a lot, and I'll be back next spring.
Great Race (about: 2004) Course: 5
B. O. from Virginia (4/28/04) 11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Cleveland Marathon
First to address some of the other comments:
If you want crowd support, don't enter a small race, enter a large one. If you don't want crowded running conditions, don't enter a large race, enter a small one.
Good weather is something we all hope for, but don't always get. The race director is not responsible for wind, rain, cold, heat, humidity, sun, clouds, etc.
Plastic cups at water stops ARE a nuisance, and the race organizers should switch to paper.
Attendants at water stops were overwhelmed, but this should have been obvious after one or two stops, and it was very easy to bypass the attendants and grab a cup or two off the tables yourself. The race organizers should concentrate on this as a primary goal for improvement.
Porta-johns at every water stop? Get real. Even the large marathons I've run like Boston, Chicago, and Marine Corps didn't have this.
Split times? Ever heard of a runners watch?
Bag drop? Yes, it is a pain when these don't operate efficiently, and after being burned a couple of times, I tend to avoid them, so can't comment on the one here. However, we had no problem parking on the street a block away from the start/finish, and just left our bags in the car - easy enough solution.
Did the expo have the best organization I've encountered? No. Did it have the worst organization? No. Was I, and the runners I was with, able to get through with the necessary business in a matter of minutes without waiting in lines? Yes.
Winding around at the finish was a bit of a nuisance - straightening the finish would enhance the race.
Overall, I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a small-to-medium marathon with a fairly fast course. My perception may be biased because I am familar with the Cleveland area, and because I ran a BQ here on my first marathon of the year, but another runner who made the trip with me (and had never seen Cleveland or any part of Ohio) was impressed enough to say we should put in on the calendar for a yearly event.
Nice course, ok organization, not bad. (about: 2004) Course: 4
y. w. from Dearborn MI (4/27/04) 11-50 previous marathons
| 1 Cleveland Marathon
The expo was so-so but they had a fantastic goody bag - no doubt due to CVS sponsoring. Overall I liked the course - I thought it showed off the best of Cleveland. Not perfect though, there were too many twists, turns, and ramps at the end. LOTS OF OPEN HOLES IN THE STREET! Also, what's with the plastic cups? Aid stations could have been much better organized. Finish paddock was well stocked with plenty of goodies. Get the bugs in the course and the aid stations worked out, make sure the holes in the street are closed, and you could have another race rivaling the Flying Pig.
Love the 8am start time! (about: 2004) Course: 4
M. V. from Columbus OH (4/27/04) 4-5 previous marathons
| 1 Cleveland Marathon
First the good stuff:
Starts at 8am, right downtown. Easy in and out from our hotel. Loved the expo atmosphere. Kids run was great way to get the kids involved. The course allows spectators to see you many times. Love the run through Case Western Reserve University. MLK Blvd was awesome. I loved the trek past the Jake too. Loved the pace groups. The 3:30 and the 3:40 were right on the mark and very encouraging (especially the 3:40 - I ran with her at the end).
Downside: A lot of bridges mean tough uphills, always into the wind, it seems. Mile 19 was about 1.3 miles, and mile 20 was about 0.7. Bad markings. The uphill right past Browns Stadium was very discouraging. Running on the bike path around mile 20 and on Marginal Road was not the best - but worth it if that is the only way to get to run on MLK Blvd.
Weather was tough in the last half - wind and rain. But I still managed a PR by 7 minutes.
Move the relay station a block away from the runners - I don't like to see others finishing when I have 13.1 to go. Also, don't loop the finish around, so we can see the finishers when we still need to move around the block. Kids run needs better organization.
Potential To Be A Great Race (about: 2004) Course: 4
S. L. from Columbus (4/27/04) 1 previous marathon
This race was very satisfying for me. It was my second marathon. I am a very slow runner and so I can't really judge the spectators well because they may have dispersed by the time I showed up!! Plus the weather this year was not ideal--grey and rainy. Nevertheless, the new course was great--lots to see all along the way. I especially enjoyed all the running along the lake and running through the various parts of Cleveland.
The expo was very well put together--very efficient-- and the race well organized. As in almost every city which hosts a marathon, the police were sensational. The folks who put this race together should be congratulated.