Friday, August 30, 2013

The Shawshank Redemption 20th Anniversary

The Ohio State Reformatory, built in 1886, in Mansfield is one of the most majestic buildings in all of Ohio, resembling a Transylvanian castle soaring high into the sky. Once a progressive prison, conditions worsened over the years, so much so that it finally shut its doors in 1990. Many say paranormal activity runs rampant at the prison, as improperly treated and abused inmates who died in the jail (which amount to over 200 people) continue to haunt visitors (that is, if you believe in that kind of thing).
Mansfield5Today, people come from near and far to tour the abandoned prison in all of its decaying glory. Guided tours are given by the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society where you can travel all areas of the prison and even sit in one of the cells. The tours are from $7 to $9 It is absolutely amazing to see the balance between deterioration and preservation. It's also remarkable to see the East Cell Block, which remains the largest freestanding steel cellblock in the world at six tiers high (pictured left).
Some may recognize the The Mansfield Reformatory from the silver screen, as it became famous worldwide after the release of the 1994 blockbuster hit "The Shawshank Redemption." Most exterior and interior shots for this movie were filmed on site, and some of the iconic props from the cinematic classic can also be seen in person at the prison! Some points of interest are the warden's office, the Rita Hayworth poster, and, of course, the infamous cells the characters lived their lives.
This year, “The Shawshank Redemption” is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the year it was filmed in Mansfield and the surrounding area. This Labor Day weekend, celebrations are taking place at the Reformatory and other parts of the state to pay homage.
Special events and tours of the actual locations where the movie was filmed are being offered in Mansfield, Ashland and Upper Sandusky, Ohio, from August 30 to September 1. The general public is invited to join in on the fun alongside extras and crewmembers who worked on the film, and even a few of the stars of “Shawshank” including Bob Gunton, who portrayed the warden in the film. 
The Shawshank Reunion Weekend kicks off on Friday, August 30, with a number of tours and events. The Ohio State Reformatory (known as the Shawshank State Prison in the movie) will offer tours beginning at 10 AM. Tours last through the weekend here and other areas and all info can be found at
On Friday evening, the Renaissance Theatre, which hosted the premier of "The Shawshank Redemption," will offer a 7 PM special showing of the film, replicating its 1994 premier.  General admission tickets are $10/person and are available at
On Saturday, August 31 from 7-9 p.m., the main event is a Shawshank Reunion cocktail reception in the Ohio State Reformatory Central Guard Room.  Guests will enjoy live music, hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and special guided prison tours.  Tickets are $40 and space is limited.  Tickets can be purchased at

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Avon Lake Dirty Dog 5K Recap

Photos by OHventures and Earth Fare Cleveland

By now, you should know that I am the proud owner of a nine pound pup named Slider, whom I take on various doggy 5Ks, such as the Run With The Pack 5K and the Defend Your Friend 5K in Columbus. We've become nicely acquainted with one another's running style and we seem to work well together now (I am not tripping over his leash or running too fast like I was in the early stages).

On July 21, 2013, I thought it was about time to step it up a notch or two. Slider and I traveled to Lorain County to the town of Avon Lake to take part in the Avon Lake United Church of Christ Dirty Dog Run, Walk, and Wash! There were torrential downpours the night before and the morning of the race. Things were NOT looking good for us! My friends who were planning to run that morning took one look at the dark gray storm clouds and decided to back out. I, however, am pretty crazy! So, I went ahead to the church to prepare for the run.

But because of the friends deciding not to participate, I wound up running with ANOTHER dog in addition to Slider! Our running mate was my friend's 5 pound chihuahua, Max, who was only pushing seven months old on his inaugural 5K run! I was very skeptical for how this race was going to go. The pouring rain and the added canine were not going to make it easy. Thankfully, by the time I arrived on site, the rain cleared up! Not a single droplet fell on me or the dogs for the rest of the day! Praise the Lord!

Walking around with Slider and Max surely attracted a great deal of attention. So many people kept stopping me and asking me about the little dynamic duo, and many people vocalized their disbelief that I was going to RUN the 5K with both of these little guys, especially since a 1-mile walk was an available option. Depite all of the doubt cast by onlookers, I went for it! The horn sounded and the three of us were off and running!

Much to my surprise, running with these two dogs was not as awkward or as difficult as I had thought. I just had to pay extra attention so that they would not cross over in front of me and so that the leashes didn't get all tangeld up! The crisp post-rain air actually made things a bit more bearable, as we did not have to run in 90 degree weather as I have had to in the past.

The course was through a small residential area in Avon Lake, which was a nice added bonus. The pups would occasionally stop to pee and -ahem- other things, which slowed us down a bit. But other than that, they kept up pretty well! Max set the pace, which was very surprising, but makes sense since he is such a young puppy full of endless amounts of energy. He would bark at many of the other dogs though, which was kind of funny.

Soon enough, the course wrapped up and we charged through the finish line in full force! We completed the race with a time of 32:40, which was better than any other dog 5K I had ever done before! This was remarkable, given that their were TWO dogs with me! I owe it to Max, who was the fastest of us all! My time helped land me a prize! I was the 2nd Place Finishing Male in my age group, which meant I got a "trophy"! It was so exciting!

Even though it was not raining, it HAD rained all day and the night before, so the dogs were kicking up a ton of water onto their undersides. Good thing that the "Dirty Dog" also offered FREE dog washes to all those in attendance! We stood in line for a little bit and the pups got all shampoo'ed and scrubbed clean! It was a great amenity and a genius idea (all dog 5Ks should offer this at the end of the race)!

Food, live music, and dog friendly companies were all present after the run. Earth Fare Cleveland was kind enough to give Slider and Max some treats, and snap some great pics of them (below).

This was a fantastic event and a great challenge for me, despite the odds. It was also for a great purpose: the Dog Wash and Dirty Dog 5K are fundraisers for the Youth Ministry programs at Avon Lake U.C.C. Specifically the proceeds from this event are used to help fund the various mission trips that Jr. High youth and High School youth from the church attend each summer.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Brace Against Hunger 5K At Gervasi Winery!

Looking for another opportunity to join "Team OHventures" to run for a great cause in Ohio? You're in luck! This time, we are taking you to the Northeast quadrant of our state, at the most beautiful winery in all of Ohio: Gervasi Vineyard & Italian Bistro located in Canton!

Drs. Bernard, Eimer and Morgan join the Stark County Hunger Task Force hunger fighting team as the title sponsor for its first ever 5K Run/Walk: The Brace Against Hunger. The race will take place on September 22, 2013 on the Stark Park’s Middle Branch Trail.

Registration will take place on the grounds at Gervasi Vineyard and finish with an awards ceremony and Family Finish Line Festival on the Villa Grande lawn at Gervasi. You will be the first to try delicious eats from the new Crush House on the Gervasi campus setting to open the following weekend to the public. (Food will be available for purchase.)

What: The Stark County Hunger Task Force Brace Against Hunger 
Registration: 7:30 AM on race day (September 22) @ Gervasi Winery
Start: 9:00 AM
Course: Stark Park’s Middle Branch Trail (Slightly hilly)
Awards Ceremony/Festival: 9:30am


All proceeds directly impact the hungry in Stark County. The Stark County Hunger Task Force provides free groceries to 25,000 residents each month.

FLIP Darby Creek Trail Run Photo Blog

Who: Team OHventures, FLIP Now, and over 250 other runners and walkers
When: July 13, 2013
Why: To explore Ohio, get in shape, and raise funds to fight cancer
How: By joining a team through FLIP Now!

Photos by OHventures and FLIP Now. More photos available here.

FLIP Darby Creek Trail Run Recap

Photos by Team OHventures

Last month on July 13, OHventures had the opportunity to partner with a local Columbus-based organization, FLIP Now, for its annual Darby Creek Trail Run 5K/10K. It was a perfect fit, as both OHventures and FLIP are devoted to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, and both are advocates for exploring the great outdoors in the state of Ohio. Additionally, FLIP encourages others to Fight, Live, Inspire, and Prevent (FLIP...get it?) cancer through special events, including races!

So when Carl Seiley from FLIP Now was interested in having a "Team OHventures" take part in its staple "inspire" event, the Darby Creek Trail Run, we were incredibly excited. This was the first opportunity to gather OHventures readers together to fight for a cause, get a cardiovascular workout through walking and running, and see a part of the state that none of us had been to before!

The best thing about the Flip Now Darby Creek Trail Run was that it offered a number of options to accommodate the different skill levels and interests of participants! The 10K and 5K courses were each completely separate from one another (aside from the start/finish line) and 5K participants had the option of being "walkers." On top of that, dogs were permitted in the race as well! Team OHventures had people participating in every option possible!

Me and My Family at the Darby Creek Trail Run!

Team OHventures (I love the sound of that) consisted of: Myself, My Mom (Kim), My Dad (Mark), my Aunt Patty, and my friends Matt, Ryan K., Ryan H., Emily, Beth, Rachel, Spenser, and Katie (Katie's husband Matt also came to take photos and give moral support). Those who did the 5K walk were: Mom, Dad, Patty, and Katie (with her dog Lilly); those who did the 5K run were: Matt, Ryan K. (with his dog Franklin), Ryan H., and Emily; and those who did the 10K run were Myself, Spenser and Rachel (with her dog Hunter). I was thrilled to have such a great turnout of folks who came to support the fight against cancer through FLIP, and to help support the blog as well!

The Batelle Darby Creek Metro Park is located in western Franklin County in the city of Galloway. The race began bright and early at 9:00 AM. We were all amped, as it was an absolutely gorgeous day, if not a little too hot. The gun sounded and we shot through the starting gate, splitting off almost immediately. Since I ran the 10K, I can only give a firsthand account of that course. However, I do know that the 5K course was mostly paved, and looped around a bison preserve. Unfortunately, I had reports that there were no bison to be seen on the morning of the race (save for on the photo on the fence)! The other runners and walkers did, however, let me know that it was a very pleasant and picturesque course on wide, flat terrain.
Rachel & Hunter

The 10K course, on the other hand, was not so flat and wide. It mostly weaved through a thick wooded area, and had gargantuan hills that were incredibly steep and incredibly long. They were so difficult that I decided to walk up the hills as not to "run out of gas" trying to slowly jog up the hill. Because it was so hot, I was extremely sweaty and extremely thirsty. I only wish there were more than just two water stops during the 6.2 mile course. I also wished there were mile markers so we could see how far we went. That kind of made it so we had to do it the old fashioned way and keep on running until you didn't have to anymore (which was kind of cool in a way).

Crossing that finish line, I was filled with lots of euphoria, as everyone from Team OHventures was there cheering me on, as well as Carl and others from FLIP Now. It was truly a fantastic experience.

Race results for our team were as follows:

5K Results:
Emily: 30:09.3
Ryan K.: 30:49.8
Matt C.: 31:23.2
Beth: 31:52.0
Ryan H.: 36:25.9
Katie: 47:21.6
Patty: 48:13.0
Mark: 48:15.7
Kim: 48:16.1

10K Results:
Spenser: 50:28.0
Mike: 1:03:37.3
Rachel: 1:09:56.8 

Everyone had AWESOME times. And, let's not forget the great performances by Lilly (with Katie), Franklin (with Ryan), and especially Hunter (with Rachel)! Running that far for those pups is the most impressive of all (Slider says congrats!)!

I was dripping with sweat but didn't have a care in the world! I learned that despite all of the excruciating hills, I absolutely LOVE trail runs. They beat running on shut-down city streets any day!

Most all of us headed to Bob Evans for breakfast (hey, it's an Ohio based company after all!) and then me and my family attend the official FLIP Now After Party located in Grandview at Fifth Avenue King. There, I saw my old pal Andrea, and more importantly, I discovered that Team OHventures won the prize for the LARGEST TEAM to participate. That is pretty awesome. We won a party for up to 50 friends at the new event space in Brewery District called "The Vue." The party can take place sometime between October and March. We will have an OHventures party and you'll all be invited!

Me & Andrea at the After Party

It was great to have all of us together doing something positive to help fight cancer and also to explore Ohio.

We had beautiful weather and great scenery, even though there were really tough hills on the 10K course and there were no bison to be seen on the 5K course!

Many thanks again to all participants!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paddleboarding Photo Blog

Who: You and any friend wanting a great workout and some thrills doing something extremely unique.
What: Paddleboarding 
When: Whenever the water isn't frozen over, March-November!
Where: On any body of water within Ohio, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River to Griggs Reservoir.
Why: To experience a new and different surface water sport that gives you great exercise!
How: $30-$80 by renting (or buying) through Project 908

Photos by OHventures and Project 908.