This is the marathon that almost wasn't. The Towpath Marathon runs through the very scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park, following the historic Ohio & Erie Canal. The race is scheduled to take place in early October, just in time for peak fall leaf colors to decorate the flat trail, composed of a mix of limestone and asphalt. The reason for the near disaster was the U.S. Government shut-down that literally padlocked the trail and facilities.
|Can't get much better than this!|
The Towpath Marathon raises substantial funds for the Ohio Canal Corridor, which helps build local trails in Northeast Ohio. Canceling the marathon, then, would be a real blow to fund-raising efforts....
Once sanity returned to Washington, the organizers of the Towpath went into high gear to reschedule the race. I can only image the hard work that went into that effort. Once the new date of November 3rd was secured, I felt compelled to help out the race, especially since I assumed that a number of registered runners dropped due to conflicts with the newly rescheduled race date. And once I saw the "new" design for the shirts, I was "IN!"
|New design added to back of T-shirt|
|Wrong date, right race - recycling the "old" bibs!|
Race day was a cool 38 degrees with the sun was peaking out through clouds. After the start of the race, I soon realized that my legs weren't quite back to normal after last week's 75 mile run in Arizona. Since I wasn't going to be too speedy, I popped in my I-Pod and listened to tunes, enjoying the scenery and being invigorated by the wonderful cool temperatures.
Since the course is along the towpath, it crosses a number of boardwalks over water, under stone bridges, by marshlands, etc. There is always something interesting to see. I have to say there were also a number of amusing signs at the aid stations, including one at Mile 20 that said "You are running better than our Government." That brought alot of chuckles, I'm sure.
When all was said and done, I finished at 4:01, not great but could have been worse. It was good enough for 2nd in my age group and a framed photo of the park as a prize. Very cool indeed. Not to mention the spread of food at the end - including turkey sandwiches, lots of chips, yummy chocolate cookies, candy bars and lots of fruit. I can't think of a reason NOT to return to support this very worthwhile race. Not many races can brag that even the Government can't shut a good run down!
|Front design of T-shirt|