So I had signed up a month ago to run the Inland Trail Marathon, starting in the outskirts of Elyria, Ohio. Elyria is a small city west of Cleveland in Lorain County. The title of the marathon is a bit of a misnomer as the "trail" is a paved bike path. The race starts at a local school and veers quickly onto the bike path for 13.1 miles... where you turn around and come back. Not much to see but usually the leaves are still on the trees and it is a pleasant enough race and is quite flat and fast.
I checked the website after the online registration deadline two days before the race. Only 41 runners signed up. I was using the race as a training run but I was still hoping for a few more people to keep me motivated to run.
In the meantime, Sandy hit with full force on the East Coast and a fair amount of destruction and prolonged power outages reached Cleveland. The Inland Trail Marathon coincided with the date for the New York City Marathon so on race day I found not 41 runners but instead 129 runners! A number of runners were wearing NYC marathon shirts and a few wearing NYC bib numbers. As the race progressed, I gathered from the chatter of the runners that many of them had been signed up for New York but signed up last minute for Elyria when New York was canceled abruptly.
The race was uneventful although Sandy had blown all of the leaves off of the trees. It was cold and cloudy so the lack of cloud cover didn't matter.
At the race finish, I discovered that the women's winner, Meredith Hale, worked with a friend of mine and we got to chat. Meredith had driven to NYC, checked into her hotel and then found out that the race was canceled. She stayed overnight and drove back to Cleveland Saturday night and then came to Elyria to stretch out her legs. Meredith managed a 3:12, impressive time to say the least. It turns out that the men's marathon winner was also a canceled NYC marathoner, with a 2:47 time. Obviously the whole timing of the NYC Marathon cancellation was unfortunate but it was cool to see the impacted runners shake off the situation and tow the line at Elyria. I'm sure this was happening at many other races on November 4th. Runners have the best attitudes!!!
|Meredith Hale (women's marathon winner) and me after the race.|