I ran the half in 2013 and signed up for the marathon in 2014 based on that positive experience and the quality of the course. however, the browns stadium went into off-season renovations which meant the race course had to be restructured to accommodate a new start and finish. the layout of the start was very confusing. finding and using bag check, restrooms, and the start was an adventure. (it has already been announced that these will all be in/at the quicken loans arena for 2015 to fix the problem)
The restructuring of the course put the whole race on the west side of town with the marathon adding an out and back into the western suburbs. there was a lot of crowd support in lakewood and rocky river, and we needed it because the turn around was at the very bottom of a hill after a water stop shared by both sides of the course in the middle of the hill. it was a mess. as i ran back up the hill, i could hear the people still coming down the hill swearing as they realized what was coming.
The final challenge to the redesign is that from mile 23 to 26 you are steadily running up hill, on an elevated highway (no shade). this was previously near the start of the old course, but when they redesigned, instead of starting the race downhill, you finish it uphill, and it is brutal. i was positively dismayed by the number of runner who thought this was a good course change.
The best part of this race is the crowd support. once you cross the hope memorial bridge and hit tremont and ohio city, you will have tons of enthusiastic support until to hit the highway of doom as you leave edgewater park. be prepared to mentally whitekuckle it through the last 5k.
The 2014 gel sponsor was BOOM!, which i had never seen or had access to prior to the race, so i didn\'t try it on race day. the last two years the race has used powerade.
Have multiple outfit options because ohio weather in may is unpredictable. 2014 was nice and cool. 2013 was miserable and hot.
The expo is moving from the I-X center to the cleveland convention center for 2015.
By EMR about 2012
Well run big marathon without a real personality. I was surprised at how few spectators there were for a 35 year old race in a major city. Can wait indoors in Browns football stadium before race. Early water stops were undermanned. We had super hot weather this year and race reacted to the heat very well.
Course has a few hills (one short steep one @ mile 10 or so) but is mainly flat. If weather cooperates (it did not this year) and is cool one could run well here. A few nice views of Lake and city skyline.