Cleveland Marathon Weekend 2023: Challenge Series Recap

Wow, what a week! I can’t believe that the Cleveland Marathon weekend has come and gone. Just a few days ago I was in Orlando for work, and then I made it home just in time for all the Cleveland Marathon festivities to begin.

The week included a few runs, but nothing crazy. I was out of town on business and on my feet all day, so I got in 15000+ steps all day each day. But I did sneak in a few runs at the hotel gym, including:

Sunday: 3.3 miles before my flight out

Monday: 4.4 miles hotel gym

Tuesday: 4.5 miles hotel gym

Wednesday/Thursday/Friday: off – no workouts!

The weekend included:


Friday afternoon: I LOVE kicking everything off with the Cleveland Marathon Race Expo. As you may remember, I’m a race ambassador, and get free entry. With that, I volunteer at the expo every year, and this year I was again at registration with some of my fellow ambassadors. It’s so fun to talk with people, get them checked in, answer their questions about the race, and feel the excitement with all the runners in one place.




Friday evening: I continued the festivities with the Cleveland Marathon banquet. I feel so fortunate to be invited to this event and to be with those that plan and produce this great event each year. And, of course I love catching up with my other ambassadors. Not only did we get a photo of all us dressed up, but BERNIE KOSAR was in the shot.



Saturday morning: We started the day with the Cleveland Marathon 5k. I met up with my fellow ambassadors at the starting line and to wish everyone a good race. The weather was less than ideal– it was 50s and rainy the full time. But I was so glad it was that weather for the 5k and that the weather was still looking okay for the half marathon.



Sunday morning: Half marathon time! My goals this year quickly got pushed to the back burner and I was just hoping to have fun during the race. I was getting over being sick and my breath was still not all there. My feet were sore from wearing heels most of the week and being on my feet for several days. I was still tired after a few days of long work hours and staying out late with coworkers. But the race conditions were PERFECT and I ended up finishing a few minutes faster than last year, at around 2:06 (last year was 2:11). 

In case you’ve been following along Cleveland Marathon social media, you saw CourseGate 2023- they changed the course this year to focus on running mostly through just Cleveland, with only one outside suburb included (for the Marathon). There were tons of complaints about the course, but here was my take– I loved the new course! I didn’t mind all the turns, for me, it kept the run interesting and moving. I could look ahead until the next turn and just keep moving until we approached the turn. The crowd support was stellar – there were people out all over downtown since the course looped around several areas. Then when we got to Tremont, we passed the house from A Christmas Story (have you seen that movie?) and there tons of people out to support the runners. WAs it a perfect, painless run? Of course not. I got a cramp around mile 9 that didn’t go away. My big toe was hurting for most of the run, and I had a headache at the start that never went away (Blaming it on the lack of sleep). Did I break 2 hours, as I would’ve a few years ago? Nope. Was it super flat? No, and the Scranton hill nearly killed me. But I had fun, saw my fellow ambassadors and the weather was near perfect – a little warmer than I would’ve liked but still not bad!).


Overall, I’m really happy with how the race went. I had SO MUCH fun running the race again! But I’m looking forward to NOT waking up at 3-4 a.m. for the next few weeks!

THANK YOU Cleveland Marathon for a great weekend. For letting me be an ambassador AGAIN. For letting me run around my city once again. I’m so grateful to be part of this great race!

Questions for you:

  • What’s your goal half marathon time?
  • What’s your ideal racing weather?

I am linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

9 thoughts on “Cleveland Marathon Weekend 2023: Challenge Series Recap

  1. Congrats on the Half! It’s great that you beat last year’s time AND enjoyed the race. It’s funny one thing I don’t like about D.C. races that include Hains Point is that you go forever without a turn — so I guess the moral is runners will complain no matter what. 😉

  2. Nice job on your finish time! Sounds like Cleveland Marathon Weekend is a great venue! I’d love to come and see the city and do the race (probably the 13.1) someday.

  3. Great race , and nice meeting you for a moment in the middle of it. I also enjoyed the many turns in the course. It kept it from being monotonous. I thought the weather was close to ideal, but could have been a few degrees cooler.

  4. Oh, this sounds amazing! I know it wasn’t perfect, but it sounds pretty darn good. And I like courses where you don’t see too far in front of you. I need something to break things up. Congratulations!

  5. so much FUN! I absolutely love kicking off race weekend with an expo, gets me really pumped for the day! I also love when a course goes through the city, even with twists and turns, I agree it keeps things interesting! Of course people don’t like change and sometimes charges are not always an improvement for everyone. Congrats on your race – at this point in my life my ideal time would be under 3 hours, but back in the day when I didn’t have chronic pain and extra weight, it would have been 2 hours. My best HM is 2:10 I think? My ideal conditions would be about 60 degrees, dry, a bit sunny with some clouds and no humidity. I love spring races for this reason, especially here in Northern Europe, spring time is a good time to race.

  6. Congratulations on another race finish! The Cleveland race series weekend is still one of my favorite race weekends ever. It was so much fun and I loved volunteering at the expo a few years ago.

  7. Oh wow, it sounds like you had a fantastic time with the race festivities! Too bad that you had to go on a business trip the week before the race.

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