If you have a family like ours, where step by step everyone seems to be getting bitten by the running bug, you would enjoy signing up with your family for various events at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.
I do not know how many similar events are out there, which stretch through the entire weekend, but we were certainly very happy when we found this one. As my wife (running mate) was looking for running again another 5k and I was looking for running my fifth Half Marathon, we had our usual dilemma: how to run various race distances at one particular event, when races usually start just a few minutes apart. We had no solution for the kids and we could not leave them just waiting for us at the Finish line. Side note: we are yet to find a race which offers child care service for runners. What a great idea!
That is when we found the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, which offers events both on Saturday and Sunday. So my running mate signed up for the 5k on Saturday early morning, the kids signed up for the Kids’ Run on Saturday mid-day and I ended up running on Sunday. Everyone is happy!
We drove to Cleveland, OH on Friday early afternoon and we went directly to the Expo to pick up our packets. It was very easy to find our way around the Expo. Unfortunately we arrived to the Expo kind of late, so have not got a chance to see any speakers and since we still had to check in to our hotel and the gang was really hungry, we pick up our packets, posed for a few silly pictures and left.
Saturday morning we followed our usual race day strategy: leave a bit early, so arrive before the crowd and rather relax a bit in the vehicle than stress in the middle of a traffic jam. As it turned out there was really no huge traffic jam to avoid, but we did not mind getting there a bit early.
Walked to the Cleveland Browns stadium and set up camp in the stands, with a great view on the 5k Finish, which happened to be inside the stadium, on the field in one of the end zones. How cool is that? So while Mommy was stretching and warming up a bit, we just hang around with the girls. Entertaining ourselves with the funny activity of who is sitting in which seat, the one moment crying-next moment smiling game or running through all the rows adventure. When the time came, we walked outside and left Mommy with the crowd, while we took position a bit further away from the Start line to be able to take photos as the runners were taking off.
After Mommy left with the crowd, we walked back into the stadium and started to watch out for Mommy. Based on her great finish at her first race (see the Weird recipe for a happy wife) we expected her arrival anytime after 20 minutes, so we watch carefully. The girls were doing great, while we were waiting for Mommy. Then just as the race clock was ticking through minute 24, she showed up at the end of the tunnel with her arms up in the air and waving. Sprinted through the last few yards and crossed the Finish line.
We knew she did great as we did not remember seeing too many other female runners arriving before her and later when we checked her official chip time it sure confirmed that. She finished 17th out of 688 female runners and 2nd out of 95 ladies in her age group!!! By the way 81st out of 1049 runners (male and female)!!! Excellent start for a weekend full of running…
The 5k started at 8AM, so we had a little bit of time to kill until the 11:00AM start of the Kids’ Run, so we opted to try to find a place to treat ourselves with coffee/hot chocolate and pastries. With our bellies satisfied, we walked back again to the stadium and got ready for the Kids’ Run.
There were so many kids with so many family members! I never expected such a great turnout, but it has been great. With all the kids and all the excited family members, everyone was moving up and down between the field and the stands without any hassle. The rules were simple: only one age group on the field, wait until the field is clear, before kids and families from the next age group can enter the field, be patient and most importantly have fun. They even had a real Olympic Gold Medal which every kid had a chance to touch to get good luck for their run.
From our side Emma ran first. Her age group about 110 yards: from one goal line to the end of the other end zone. She lined up with Mommy, while we were waiting for her at the other end of the field. She run very strong and obviously she did a great job of crossing the field as quickly as possible.
Karina’s age group was a bit later and that is when we recognized, how warm the weather has turned out to be. As we were sitting in our seats and the mid-day sun was burning we were still patiently waiting for our turn. Karina’s group run a bit longer than the little ones: they run a full circle around the field and then cross the same Finish line that Mommy and the other 5k participants crossed a few hours earlier. She was also trying her and always seemed to turn on the backburner whenever she was passing us and heard our cheers. Just imagine the funny scene when the kids are running around the field and parents are scrambling to cut corners everywhere to try to see their kid running at multiple points on the field and sprint hard at the end to be able to wait for them at the Finish line…
After this busy morning, we spent the rest of the day taking things easy: took an afternoon nap at the hotel, then an easy walk in Downtown Cleveland, visiting the USS COD. It was great to be able to climb down into body of the submarine, which was definitely a unique experience for the girls.
To cap this great day, we had a nice dinner in an Italian restaurant and went to bed not too late to get ready for Sunday. It was my turn to run..
To be continued…