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Posts Tagged ‘Marathon’

Cleveland Marathon Finisher!

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Last weekend it was off to Cleveland, Ohio for the 40th Anniversary of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and I am proud to report that I am now a Cleveland Marathon finisher! That’s right, another marathon is in the books and another medal can be added to the collection!

The Rock and Roll City did an a great job hosting this marathon and if you are looking for a nice marathon to add to the running bucket list be sure to give this one some serious consideration. From the race expo to the finish line the organization around the Cleveland Marathon was absolutely excellent and runners traveling to the city were welcomed the entire weekend.

I headed over to the race expo both on Friday and Saturday and hit up the various sponsor tables, vendors and other booths. The expo had plenty of space to move around and registration and number pickup had plenty of volunteers available to help the avoid any length delays.

The Cleveland Marathon features a variety of different races so Saturday I made my way to watch the 5k race which had all the trimmings of a larger race complete with an announcer at the finish line greeting runners into the chute. The finish line for the races was conveniently located outside of my hotel which made for a truly perfect location to stay while in Cleveland.

On race morning, I made my way over to the starting area which was just about a quarter mile from my hotel and directly in front of the Quicken Loans Arena where the Cleveland Cavaliers play and Progressive Field where the Cleveland Indians play. The corrals were very well managed and the race went off without a hitch immediately at the 7AM start time.

Runners made their way out of the downtown area and down toward the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where an exceptional band blasted some rock music and really got the runners amped up for the miles ahead. After running past the stadium where the Cleveland Browns play, it was then up a short , steep incline and down toward The Flats section of Cleveland. A remarkable hill was mixed into the course pretty early and signs placed by the marathon organizers alongside the road helped motivate runners up the hill step by step.

For about the first half of the race I felt pretty good. I knew it wasn’t going to be my best marathon given the perfect storm of some humid conditions coupled with some gall bladder and pancreatic issues I have been dealing with but I was determined to put one foot in front of the other each step of the way and get to the finish line. Even when the rain entered into the mix at the midway point, I kept myself mentally in the race and kept on trucking.

The Lake Ave section of the race in the second half of the marathon was quite flat and well supported with people cheering runners along the way. One of the constants of this marathon was how remarkably well supported the run was the entire way with both official and non-official water stops, energy drinks, gels and more along the entire race course. If you really wanted to, a bacon and beer stop was even available for those with an iron stomach! An area called Edgewater Drive took runners past some beautiful homes and this stretch was a pretty quiet but enjoyable part of the course.

Heading back onto Detroit Avenue I saw a large bridge I knew led to the finish line having walked over it the day before while checking out the Ohio City section of the city. I knew I was close and felt the legs get a little stronger with each step over the bridge.

I made my way into the finish line with a time of 5:08:06, or 11:46/miles. My pace continued to fall off throughout the course but I made it. It would be easy to be disappointed with my time but I couldn’t be more happy with the fact that I finished another marathon. Marathons and marathon training certainly can take its toll, but I did it! And now, I am a Cleveland Marathon finisher!

 

Marathon to Marathon: Final Year!

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As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. This is the final year for the Marathon to Marathon so don’t miss your opportunity to run a great race!

This year is the 22nd annual (and final!) Marathon to Marathon which will be held on June 10, 2017! This Heartland USA Classic is USA Track and Field Certified and Sanctioned, is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, and attracts many athletes from in and around the state of Iowa. Runners are encouraged to toe the starting line in Storm Lake, Iowa and race the course that finishes in the perfectly named Marathon, Iowa.

Come and enjoy small town friendliness and big time fun. The course will have aid, Gatorade, and water stations available every 2.5 miles (stations are closer towards the finish line) and fresh fruit is on the course with GU Energy Gel available at mile markers 10, 15, and 21. All registrants will receive a Dri-Fit shirt as part of their registration fee and medals will be awarded to all marathon finishers.

In addition to the full marathon, the Marathon to Marathon also features a marathon relay option, a half-marathon and a 5K race, as well. Be sure to check out the race site for more details about the race options.

To register for the Marathon to Marathon, please click here. You can also “Like” the race on Facebook by clicking here for additional information about the Marathon to Marathon!

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The Hogeye Marathon: It’s a Pretty Pig Deal

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Registration is now open for The Hogeye Marathon series and it’s a pretty pig deal that you go and register for this race today! The Hogeye will take place on April 8, 2017. The Hogeye Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifier so if you are looking for a race to qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon this one is for you!

This year marks the 41st year that The Hogeye has been run and features full marathon, a half-marathon and a marathon relay. In addition to the marathon series of races, there is also a 5K option which makes The Hogeye the perfect event for runners of all abilities.

This year’s race has a new course and runners will be running in Springdale, Arkansas as they tackle their respective challenge. The new course will take runners past the city’s five major parks and, as in previous years, will include a portion of the Lake Fayetteville Trail. The course will be run primarily on Springdale streets, but sections will run through Johnson and Fayetteville, and a small portion of the 26.2-mile course will take place on the Razorback Greenway.

The Hogeye has some of the most reasonable registration fees around with the marathon priced at $80 and the half-marathon running $60.

All marathon and half-marathon finishers will receive a medal upon completion of the course. Tech shirts are also provided to all runners as part of the entry fee.

For more information about The Hogeye Marathon, please click here. Be sure to give a “Like” to The Hogeye on Facebook by clicking here.

Race the Lake Marathon & Half-Marathon

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Looking for a marathon or half-marathon to add to your 2016 racing schedule? Registration is now open for Race the Lake Marathon & Half-Marathon.

Race The Lake Marathon and Half marathon will take racers around beautiful Otsego lake in Cooperstown NY. You will run past such landmarks as the Otesaga Hotel, The Farmers Museum, The Fenimore Art Museum and The Baseball Hall Of Fame.

The lake will always be on your right with awesome views of the surrounding area. The course is very challenging and runs on small county route roads through small villages . Both the full and the half are certified by the USATF ,the race can be used as a Boston Marathon qualifier . The course is also completely staffed with many local volunteers. Numerous water and aid stations and also bicycle patrols that ensure a safe and directed run. Finishers will have included in the registration fee a bbq with finish line food . Awards to the overall male and female of both races and also age group awards will be given to the top three in each . Tech shirts to those who register before May 15th 2016 are guaranteed. All finishers will receive a medal as well

Register online by clicking here.

2015 TCS NYC Marathon

November 2, 2015 1 comment

This weekend was the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon weekend and I made my way to the Big Apple on Friday morning to take in the scene and tackle the 26.2 mile course through the five burroughs of New York. The entire experience was one I will never forget.

On Friday afternoon, I hit up the race expo to pick up my bib number, shirt and bag of goodies. For those who know me, you may be surprised to know I also sprung for a marathon jacket and will wear it proudly going forward. The race expo was a really well orchestrated event and there were a lot of familiar faces at the expo in terms of running vendors including The Running Griffin sponsors Honey Stinger and Sparkly Soul!

Thanks to the magic of Twitter, I was able to find a shakeout run with Bart Yasso at Paragon Sports on Saturday morning. A great group of runners hit the store at 8AM and made our way out into the streets for a 3 mile warm up run. It was a great way to meet some other runners who would be tackling the marathon the next morning. After the run, I made my way over to a great outdoor market and then went to the World Trade Center Memorial. Having never seen the memorial before, it was amazing how quiet it was at the memorial; you could literally hear a pin drop. I was able to find Ace Bailey’s name on the memorial and decided to focus on all the good that has come out of tragedy, particularly with the Ace Bailey Children’s Foundation, for which I have been a supporter for the past five years.

After a nice pasta dinner Saturday early evening I made my way back to the hotel and went to bed nice and early to rest up for the big day.

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Sunday morning was now upon me and I hopped in an Uber to head to the Whitehall Terminal where the Staten Island Ferry shuttled runners over to Staten Island. Though there was a little bit of a delay boarding the ferry, trying to transport that many people is no yeoman’s task and all things considered it went quite smoothly. After the ferry ride, a bus ride took us to the starting area. The starting area was remarkably well organized and featured plenty of space, port-o-potties, coffee and more! Before I knew it, my wave and corral were being called and it was time to tackle the course.

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Once the starting cannon went off, it was onto the Verranzano bridge lower deck. Running on the bridge was quite an experience but then hitting the first wave of crowds in Brooklyn was all the better. My favorite section of Brooklyn was early in the run when revelers were having an old school block party while blasting “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” I can imagine that on this day, there is probably no getting sick of the Beastie Boys on repeat.

For the first half-marathon I ran the race pretty well, actually picking up negative splits at some points. But with about 10 miles to go the legs started to get sore and tired. No matter how much fluids and energy I was taking, it seemed a little harder to keep pushing along but I was determined to get there.

Heading up the road before making a turn into Central Park was a gradual incline that certainly made itself known on the legs. Once inside Central Park, knowing there was just two miles to go a renewed sense of energy was present and I started to run a little bit better. The last mile the emotion of knowing the end was just down the road made each painful step a little easier and crossing the finish line was amazing. Though this was my seventh marathon completed, there is something about crossing the finish line that is always moving. Having a volunteer place your medal around your neck simply can’t be beat.

The people of New York and the spectators who ascended upon the city for the race were, simply put, amazing. The crowds of people cheering you along seemed to never stop. Revelers were cheering the entire way, sanitation workers clapped you along, police officers were waving and dancing as you ran by. The signs along the course included a plethora of “That’s what she said” related signs mixed with a healthy dose of Donald Trump related signs inclusive of “You will hit the wall at Mile 20. We should get the Mexicans to pay for it” and “I’ve never met a marathoner, but I am sure they are good people.”

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The music on the course ranged from DJs to high school marching bands, a Latino church choir to a gospel choir at a Baptist church, rock bands to bagpipers, solo performers to a Japanese drum line. The music demonstrated the diversity of each runner tackling the marathon course and it helped push me along.

I finished the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon with a time of 4:48:24. It wasn’t my worst marathon, but certainly wasn’t my best. But you know what, I finished. I completed the NYC Marathon and am still standing and still able to blog about my experience today. Thanks to the good people of New York City for making it such a great experience!

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Cape Cod Marathon Relay

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Last Sunday morning it was an early departure to head down to Falmouth to take part in the Cape Cod Marathon Relay. My running club, Thirsty Irish Runners, had five teams entered into the relay race with five runners on each team to tackle a leg of the 26.2 mile course. The weather was absolutely perfect fall weather running conditions and myself and four teammates packed into a car and made our way out onto the course.

The marathon relay course runs along with the runners tackling the full marathon and there is no loneliness out on the course as plenty of runners are on the course and there are fans cheering runners along throughout the course. The transition points for the relay are great for runners and spectators alike and the cheering at these points becomes quite loud. For relay teams, you can keep track of how many other relay runners you have picked off along the way making for an extra sort of incentive to run fast for your assigned leg.

I ran the third leg of the relay which was just shy of 6 miles of running. The route was moderately hilly with some decent elevation climbs mixed into the route. I always forget how hilly sections of Cape Cod really are with a healthy dose of rolling hills and more marked hills making up a nice chunk of my run. The best part of my leg was when we ran underneath a highway overpass and there was a string band made up of seniors playing folks music and jamming away as runners made their way past.

Marathon relays are a great team event and a perfect way to spend some time with some running friends. The Cape Cod Marathon relay is definitely a race that running clubs should look to send teams to next year to tackle a good, challenging course all while building upon running friendships and camaraderie!

Buffalo Marathon 2015: Another Great Run in Buffalo

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Another great Memorial Day weekend in Buffalo, New York for my second running of the Buffalo Marathon. I ran this race two years ago and had a great time in the City of Wings and this year headed back to Buffalo for another running of the race. This winter in Boston didn’t allow for optimal marathon training but I got to the starting line with a rather good feeling as to how the race would go.

The weekend’s activities started on Saturday with a 5K taking runners on some of the same roads that the next day the marathon and half-marathon would be run on. Fortunately for us we had an early flight out of Boston on JetBlue and were able to get to our hotel just in time to see the 5K runners go racing by. We walked down the final stretch of the 5K and made our way to the race expo to pick up our numbers and race schwag. The expo this year was much larger than two years ago and had a nice assortment of different vendor tables available.

With a need to carbo-load upon us, we hit up Cafe 59 right around the corner from our hotel and had an amazing meal of chicken parm with penne for me and parsley pesto cheese tortellini for Mrs. Running Griffin. The portions were huge and the entrees were $12 each and for scratch made food you really couldn’t beat it! If in the area next year for the Buffalo Marathon or if just checking out Buffalo, get to this spot.

The Buffalo Marathon and Half-Marathon starts bright and early at 7AM and for the first 13.1 miles the two race’s runners stay together on the same course. Mrs. Running Griffin ran the half-marathon and enjoyed her first Buffalo running experience while I tackled the full. The course was changed a bit from two years ago but definitely was for the better. The first six miles took runners out of the downtown area and through a residential section of Buffalo where both the fans and volunteers were absolutely top-notch. Runners made their way back into downtown around Mile 6 and then headed out toward the International Peace Bridge and along the water for a nice stretch. Running past the Buffalo Sabres Arena a momentary pause of how awful it must be to be a Sabres fan and not a Bruins fan rushed over me but I kept on trucking. In the last mile of the half-marathon, a lone police bagpiper played Amazing Grace which to most Irishmen causes biologically response of getting goosebumps immediately upon hearing it.

The first half-marathon for me went really well and in-fact I would have been on pace to likely PR the half-marathon if I hadn’t signed up to run another 13.1 miles after that. Up until Mile 16 I was running ahead of the 4:00 marathon pace and was feeling pretty good but the legs definitely started getting sore. One of my favorite parts of the race was running in Olmstead Park in Buffalo which is a beautiful section of parkland complete with walking paths, a golf-course and a zoo. There was one decent incline in the 17th mile that when you crested you were greeted by two Buffalonians playing a violin which was an eery mix of beauty and also feeling like it may be God calling you to the pearly gates all at the same time.

The one thing I can’t emphasize enough is the fact that Buffalo has some of the greatest race fans and volunteers you can find. The people out on the course are genuinely happy to see you, want to be out there cheering for you and encourage you along the way when you need it the most. The 24th mile waterstop has its own Twitter handle and the 25th mile waterstop is manned by Team RWB and the energy that these two stops give is exceptional and provided when it is needed the most. The last mile of the run is a great downhill finish down Delaware Avenue and back toward the central downtown area. The crowd at the 26 mile mark begins to really thicken up to several rows deep and the fans cheer your number and wave you into the finish line. It’s a great finish to a great race!

Handing out race medals this year were members of the military and players from the Buffalo Bandits (professional lacrosse team) and the Buffalo Bills. Jeremy Towne of the Buffalo Bills was one of the stars of the finish line and one person most marathoners likely from the area hobbled their way to for their medal.

Post-race, we made our way to Dinosaur BBQ to devour some some great wings, an awesome pulled pork sandwich and enjoyed a flight of local beers (along with about 3.5 gallons of water it seemed).

I finished the Buffalo Marathon this year with a time of 4:29:10. Buffalo is an amazing city that puts on a great marathon weekend and this race is one I would gladly recommend to anyone looking to run a great race. The race price is kept low but the amenities and fanfare is that of much larger races. If you are considering running a marathon or half-marathon next year, make your way to Buffalo and you won’t be disappointed. For more information about the Buffalo Marathon, check out their website by clicking here and be sure to Like them on Facebook by clicking here.