Runners Notes
By Heather Cass Erie Times-News staff blogger
If you want to know anything about the local running scene, ask Heather Cass. A member of the Erie Runners Club for 10-plus years, she is immersed in the local fitness culture, and she's taking your questions.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: May 24th, 2012
The Cleveland report — good, bad & ugly

Photo by the awesome Olivia Nuriulú Tipacamú :-)

Rather than writing a big, boring Cleveland Marathon race review, I thought it would be fun to ask  Erie-area runners who competed in one of the events at Cleveland this weekend to do it.  But I get to go first (hey, it’s my blog):

What I liked:

* Dinner at Bruno’s Italian Restaurant. Erie runner Rob Kolodziejczak organized an authentic carbo-loading dinner for 30 Erie-area runners on Saturday night. The  food was excellent (and all homemade) and served family style in big huge bowls we passed around.  All this for $15 per person. Fantastic.

* The bands/music/crowd/entertainment. There was a lot of  fun on the course this year — bands, DJs, spectators, drummers, etc.   It’s easy to run a race that entertains you the whole way — no need to repeat a mantra or start singing “99 bottles of beer on the wall” to occupy your mind (like I have to in that leafy, barren back-half of Presque Isle State Park).

* The shirts. At first, I was disappointed with the lime-green women’s shirts, but it’s actually a nice fit (not too tight, not too big or long), has a cute v-neck and details (like some swirly designs on it) that let you know they tried to girl it up.  I can learn to live with the green.

Back of shirt                                                             Front of shirt


What I didn’t like:

* The Hampton Inn, Downtown Cleveland. We’ve stayed here for probably 5 or 6 years now, but it’s become runner-unfriendly. Strict noon checkout, they won’t put the breakfast out early (and chastise you for stealing a bagel off the counter before 6 a.m.) and they were obviously annoyed by us, so…whatever. I’m done with the Hampton Inn.

* Expo at the IX center. $8 parking or a free, but hot & overcrowded shuttle bus?  While I appreciated the free ride, it was annoying to have to go that far just to get our packets and I feel bad for anyone who paid the $8 ransom just to pick up their packet.

* The Hill-from-Hell at mile 10. That steep hill was just a mean, mean, mean thing to throw in there late in the half.

I also didn’t like the heat, not just because it made the run tough, but because I was truly afraid someone might get hurt. More about that here.

Enough about me, here’s what others had to say:

Robin Smith (ran the whole)

I was happy to complete my 55th marathon. In a marathon it all comes down to one day and everything has to be in your favor to run well – this wasn’t was of those times for me! Our bodies just weren’t acclimated for we had on Sunday.

Patrick Krott (Ran the full)

Things I liked about Cleveland:

1. Friends

2. Pain

3. Lessons Learned

4. The volunteers! They did an awesome job. I know how frustrating it can be to work at a marathon in the heat when runners are taking 4 cups at a time.

Things I didn’t like:

1. Bag dropoff was unorganized and inefficient

2. Plumbing issues in the restrooms

3. Narrowing of course shortly after the start created a slight bottleneck


Tom Toale (Ran the 1/2)

I loved the weather, the expo, and the chocolate milk at the finish!

Two things I did not like were the hills on the half course, and the condition of the roads…too much like Erie roads!!!

Amy Morrow (Ran the 1/2)

I think I was the only person there that wasn’t bothered by the heat. I had sore legs at 5, a tight chest at 8 and really bad side cramp at 11. I think I took in too much water because I was afraid of overheating. The water stops were crazy so I had to stop running and I didn’t like that. Getting there an hour before sucked, too. I like to show up 15 min before a race. Other than that, it was great.


John Hutchison (Ran the 1/2)

Three good things about the half marathon: Loved the record number of runners, race volunteers were fabulous, I set a PR for a spring half.

Three bad things: Course was a little long as my GPS and a friend’s each had it at about 13.3, rather than 13.1. An unexpected tough hill that was not part of the course last year at around 10 miles (due to construction I believe). Spending $8 to park at the IX Center just to pick up my race packet!


Cynthia Johnson (Ran her FIRST 1/2)


1. The reminder I’m not the only one who loves this lifestyle. It’s always nice to be reminded that your not alone out there, even when some people make you think your crazy!

2. Being inspired and motivated by so many people; from athletes, to first timers, to supportive cheering spectators.

3. The excitement and hype around the entire event. It was better than any vacation — no, REALLY!


1. How humbling (hard) it was. That repetition of the same movement … tough. Hitting the wall.. tough.

2. Darn bathroom break! I guess that urge came from being a newbie. I was unhappy with my time

3. OmGosh… nothing else!

Other fun Cleveland news, notes

* This wedding proposal happened shortly after I finished. I couldn’t see the couple through the throngs of people lining the finisher’s chute, but I heard the announcer saying…”We have a marriage proposal! She said yes!”

* Pretty funny commentary on the whole $8 for parking at the IX Center. I’d totally have done this if I drove there (we took the shuttle because I’m cheap like that), but I’d have worried they would tow my car.

* The Cleveland Plain Dealer had lots of race coverage. Check it out here.

* Videos from the event here.

* Register for next year’s Cleveland Marathon by May 31 and it’s just $50 for the full and $40 for the half!


One Response to “The Cleveland report — good, bad & ugly”
  1. Tom T says:

    Oh yes, the half marathon course was definitely 13.3 miles instead of 13.1. I verified this with another runner who also was using a GPS, and on this blog John Hutchinson also confirms this. Too bad such a big race couldn’t nail it down.

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