Well, I am earlier than I was last year in getting this posted. I have been struggling with balancing this post with the range of emotions this year’s #runCLE weekend brought. The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon weekend is one of my favourites every year but this year it was marked with some great sadness, too.
Friday - The Expo and VIP Reception
The Merlin women were up and at ‘em early and on our way to Cleveland bright and early Friday morning.
We made pretty good time getting to Cleveland and made it just in time for the start of our Friday afternoon volunteer shift at the race expo. I was assigned to hand out bibs for the 5 km and 8 km races while mom was on shirt duty. Check out the orange volunteer shirts - I think you might have been able to see us from space!
After our shift at the expo it was a quick stop at the hotel to get changed and head over to the VIP Reception - an evening of dinner, drinks and great company with (most) of the other race ambassadors. Here’s the annual stair photo.
Saturday - 5 km & 8 km Events
Weather in Cleveland is unpredictable at best, especially on race weekend and Saturday morning we woke up to grey skies and rain. I have planned to wear my ambassador singlet on Saturday as I did not test it out on any long runs at home so I doubled up my shirts and headed out for the first race of our weekend. Leanne and I walked the 8 km while mom did the 5 km.
Here we are ready to go - just before we got soaked! and again at the finish line
Just one new experience to report from Saturday - my first time ever participating in an event with just a sports bra on - only for a few minutes while I swapped out my t-shirt and just wore the singlet. Sorry no pics, Leanne was too busy holding my hat.
Once we got showered and dried off we headed back to the expo to check out all of the booths.
Sunday - 10 km, Half Marathon and Full Marathon
Let me start off by saying how proud I am of my mom! She did her first (ever) 10 km on Sunday, May 19, 2019 - a day after doing a 5 km. This meant that not only did she complete 5 races in one weekend for a total of 15 km but she got a great medal haul for the weekend once you add the challenge series medal. Yay Mom!!!
Sunday morning the races start at 7:00 am and at that time it was already 20+ the humidity - it definitely was hot in Cleveland!!! All along the course you could hear the sirens of ambulances and I struggled to get my head in the game. Ambulances freak me out a bit after my coma last year, even though I do not recall the ambulance at all. I just kept reminding myself just how far I have come in the past year and a half to get back into half marathon shape. This was my redemption race afterall.
Ready to go and get it done!!!
Unfortunately, there is one runner who will never know the joy of crossing the finish line in a redemption race. Taylor Ceepo, a 22 year old who had just graduated from college collapsed and died about a quarter mile from the finish line. While I didn’t know Taylor or her family, all runners are like family. I think back on all of the amazing people in the running community and how each and every runner/walker I meet out on the course, at the race expo or at the beer tent is connected through our love of running. I have been taking it easy this past week and only put in a few short runs but each time I did Taylor was heavy on my mind #runforTaylor.
Community is one of the reasons I love the #runCLE weekend every year! Seeing the neighbourhoods come together and create their own water stations, spray their hoses to cool them off runners, set up beer stations (I’m looking at you Tremont), offer up ice and even donuts along the course make this event such a great experience year after year. And then their are the signs - here are a few of our favourites from race day. We did fail to stop and take a selfie with Speedo Man - he was holding a sign that said “keep your eyes on the prize”, he might have won the sign game but there was a girl on the west side of the last bridge whose sign read “f*$@ the bridge” and she won.
In summary, it was a great weekend of friends and community that I am proud to have been a part of once again this year. The countdown is on - only 354 days till #runCLE 2020
Check out all of the bling in this photo (and the smile because I am holding 2 beers)
Stay tuned for a post with all of our non-running shenanigans...