First of all please let me apologize for the delay in getting this posted.
As you are probably aware, I participated in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon weekend May 18-20. And if you have read any of my blog posts, you are aware that this is my favourite running event of the year. The crowds are amazing, the course is interesting (and mostly flat) and it means a girls road trip for me.
This year brought me a bunch of new experiences for race weekend and I am very happy to report that I loved it as much as my previous Cleveland weekends. Some of my new experiences included the ambassador program, running an event on Saturday (but not Sunday), and volunteering on Sunday morning.
As a race ambassador I was invited to the VIP reception on Friday night to kick-off the weekend. This event is to recognize all of the races sponsors, supporters, and VIPs like the 10 legacy runners – they have ran in all 41 years of the races existence. This event also provided me an opportunity to finally meet my fellow ambassadors face-to-face – what a fun bunch of people!
Check us out at the start line on Sunday.
In the past, we have taken Saturday as a day to explore the race expo and then hit the outlets. This year we participated in the 5K, walking. As should be expected for Cleveland race weekend, the weather was slightly unfabulous but we did not need our ponchos. We enjoyed the walk through downtown Cleveland and even made a new friend along the way. We picked up a fellow walker who was near the back of the pack with us and helped her get to the finish line distracting her with our chatter along the walk. Thanks for joining us Wanda.
Here is a pic of us after we finished the 5K with our medals.
The 5K medal was super cool too!
After we showered we headed to the expo to check out the vendors. As usual the expo did not disappoint – lots of deals on gear, stuff to sample and fun photo opportunities.
Sunday morning mom and I woke up at 5:30 to report to the finish line for our 6:00 am volunteer shift. We received our volunteer shirts and credentials and were temporarily re-assigned to gear check. After the event my mom commented to me that she was amazed at how pleasant and appreciative the runners were that early in the rainy morning handing in the bags to be checked. The running community is pretty amazing that way – thanks for making our rainy morning great runners!
Once the race began we moved back to our original assignment of handing out finisher medals. Mom even got picked to hand out winner medals. I was not sure what to expect with this assignment as I am usually running on Sunday in the half marathon but I had a blast. Again, the runners were super appreciative even if they were completely exhausted from their race. It was a great way to see some of what goes on behind the scenes at the race and just how many volunteers it takes to make an event like this happen.
Here is a picture of mom and I handing out medals.
Once our shift was over we headed over to the 26.3 Mile Rock Party to enjoy a beer and the music. Always a fun way to wrap up the race events.
Lastly, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated in these events – runners, volunteers and staff – you made this a fabulous weekend once again and I cannot wait to come back and do it again next year!
p.s. save the date for 2019 – May 18 & 19, 2019.