Cleveland Half Marathon huge success

By PATRICK MacCOON patrick.maccoon@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 5/13/17

The inaugural Cleveland Half Marathon was a hit as a total of 371 runners covering 14 different states took to what was described by an elite runner as a “top notch” road race.

“The half …

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Cleveland Half Marathon huge success

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The inaugural Cleveland Half Marathon was a hit as a total of 371 runners covering 14 different states took to what was described by an elite runner as a “top notch” road race.

“The half marathon and 5K races went as well as we could have ever expected,” co-owner of Terra Running Company Brittany Durkin said. “The community support was incredible, both the aid stations and all over the neighborhoods. It was really special to see over 100 runners finish a half marathon for the first time.”

For an expert runner from Chattanooga, the USA track and field certified race was everything and more than Ryan Shrum expected.

With cool conditions and little to no overcast skies, the racing conditions were just right as the 49-year-old crossed the finish line 10 minutes before anyone else with an official time of 1:24:41 in the 13.1-mile race.

“At my age, I don’t get to do that very often,” Shrum said. “There are usually some youngsters in their 20s and 30s that could have beaten me by 10 minutes. Getting to break the tape was a really great feeling. This was a very well put together race.”

A total of 258 runners competed in the half-marathon that shot off first at 7 a.m. The race began in front of the Bradley County courthouse in the Historic Downtown District and went as far down as Chick-fil-A.

The half marathon ages ranged from 11-year-old Ethan Lipsey, who finished 38th overall with a time of 1:55:39, to 73-year-old Mary Ruth Younger, who finished in 3:23:14.

After running the Boston Marathon in a time of 2:58:55 four weeks before and just 12 days back from having taken two weeks off from any running, Shrum raved about how much he enjoyed the course set up.

“I work up here in Cleveland a lot and I love the city,” remarked the race director for the Missionary Ridge Road in Chattanooga. “The Greenway is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It was a great course and the volunteers were awesome.

The city did a great job with traffic control as well. I really respect all the hard work that went into this day. I expect this event to be much bigger next year and have even faster people than me as well.”

With running being a lifestyle now for Shrum, who also races in the 65 Roses among numerous others, he hopes to be back for each Cleveland Half Marathon to come.

Entering the day his hopes were for a 1:25:00 half marathon, which he nailed with an average mile time of 6 minutes and 28 seconds.

He hopes his passion for running and road-to-recovery story can inspire those who may catch him on the course or even bystanders at the finish line.

“I am a recovering alcoholic,” he said. “I quit drinking when I was 38 years old and now I am about to turn 50. I took up running and fell in love with it. It has helped me to maintain my sobriety and to inspire people. If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

Placing second in the half marathon was recent Cleveland High School graduate Marvin Ruiz, 21, with a time of 1:34:01, followed behind by Russ Rogers 17 seconds later.

Fifteen minutes after the half marathon, the 5K race (3.1 miles) took off with a local runner taking the top finish time.

Seth Goudzward, 24, of Cleveland, finished with a time of 22:05 to top a field of 113 runners.

The Class of 2011 Walker Valley High School graduate, who played basketball and ran cross country for the Mustangs, enjoyed the familiar scenic course.

“The 5K run was a big blast, especially to go down by the Old Woolen Mill and to run through Lee,” Goudzward said. “This event was perfect. They really did their homework and it was awesome to have an official USA Track and Field certified race here in Cleveland.

This is definitely something I want to do every year. I want to do the half next time. I hope for years to come they have an even better turnout because it really was a lot of fun.”

Skip Jenkins, 45, of Charleston, finished second with a time of 22:24 and in third was Mason McClure, 20, of Cleveland, with a 23:49-minute mark. McClure was also a fellow Mustang cross country runner.

The age gap for the 5K ranged from 9-year-olds Darby Jenkins (48:14) and Matthew Smith (12th place; 28:31), to 83-year-old Raymond Simpson (48:06).

Each runner received a silver medallion of the courthouse after crossing the finish line where runners could choose from Gatorade, water and multiple snacks.

A live band also played throughout the early morning till the family-friendly races concluded before noon.

“The Cleveland Police Department and nearly 100 course volunteers did a great job of keeping the runners safe and traffic moving,” Durkin said. “We are looking forward to growing the event and helping more people accomplish their dream for many more years to come.” 

The 13 race sponsors for the festive and well-received Cleveland Half Marathon were: Check Into Cash, CPQ PICS, Cooke’s Food Store, Chick-fil-A, Lee University, Cleveland State Community College, Team Lowman Endurance Coaching, Nuun, East-West Billboards, Huma Chia Energy Gel, Special Deliveries Cleveland, LoAdebar and the Historic Cleveland Neighborhood Association.

The race was coordinated by the Terra Running Company.

Pictures and race results can be found on clevelandhalf.com.

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