Having just run the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus just over a month ago, I was certainly not ready to run another, let alone run a FULL marathon. However, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to travel to northeast Ohio for the Inaugural Canton Marathon on June 17, 2012 (Father’s Day). I wanted to show support for my friends who were participating in the race, and see how another large Ohio city pulled off such a huge event.
The fact that over 5,000 people participated in running events at the city’s first-ever attempt at hosting a marathon shows the growing interest in endurance racing in Ohio. It makes me proud to know that Canton can join the ranks of Akron, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo as host cities for full marathons. It shows that Ohioans are becoming more enthusiastic about running and fitness.
In addition to a full marathon (26.2 whopping miles for those unaware), athletes in the area could also sign up to run a half marathon, a marathon with a five-person team relay, and a 10K (6.2 miles). Walkers and those in wheelchairs were also encouraged to participate in their respective specialized divisions.
Photo by OHventures
The coolest part of the Canton Marathon was that the course started and ended at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sports lovers from all over the country, as well as some of football’s greatest stars of all time, have come to the iconic Pro Football Hall of Fame over the decades, as Canton is considered to be the birthplace of the NFL (originally the American Professional Football Association) in 1920. Having this renowned landmark as the backdrop for the race was a real treat.
The course winded throughout the greater Canton area in Stark County and ended back at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Fawcett Stadium, where many historic football games have been played. Seeing runners push past the endzone and through the checkered flag finish line right midfield was terrific sight to see. There were friends, family, community members and fans cheering in the stadium on the bleachers, as bands played music and race organizers announced each person by name as they completed the race.
There were beer tents, food trucks, and other amenities spread throughout the field and the surrounding area. I got the chance to meet up with my friend Erik (pictured below), who displayed an enormous grin and a hefty medal around his neck. The medal was shaped like a football and was extremely solid and heavy. It was much a deserved reward for completing such an enormous feat.
A full marathon is not something that I can quite cross off my bucket list, but I aim to one day train for one! Seeing that awesome medal and the fanfare surrounding the Canton Marathon makes it one worth looking into! The date for the next Canton Marathon has already been set for those interested: June 16, 2013 (Father’s Day). It doesn’t hurt to start training a year in advance!