December 6th saw me once again in Cleveland, Ohio for the 2nd running of the Christmas Story 5/10k race. This year's temperature was a lot warmer compared to last year. Also a huge but fast moving rain storm was in the area but luckily it moved away from us right around the start time.
Now I know what you're thinking...Cleveland,Ohio??? You actually visited Cleveland, Ohio for a race...two years in a row??? Yup. We all know about the burning river and the steel industry collapse in the area but it is turning itself around. There are people there who are giving others a reason to visit Cleveland and one of those reasons is the Christmas Story 5/10k.
Now the race begins at the famous scene in the beginning of the movie where the kids are looking at the Christmas display windows at the Higbee's department store. The route proceeds to go past the arena where the Cleveland Cavaliers, Progressive Field of the Cleveland Indians, and past the Cuyahoga river. So far the race is pretty much smooth and flat...that is until we enter the Carnegie Ave bridge. This is a pretty long bridge with a gradual increase in slope. Many runners turn into walkers here so prepare to weave in and out. It will be about a quarter of a mile before you hit the crest of the bridge before you begin the gradual decline which makes everyone happy!!!
So now you will enter the blue collar neighborhoods of Cleveland. There isn't many race onlookers due to the fact the race is in December. By this time you are pretty much a mile of less away from the finish line. You will know you are close when you turn the corner and see the famous Christmas Story house. That's right...the finish line is in front of the actual Christmas Story house you've seen in the movie. Once you crossed the finish line you will receive your finisher's medal and on your race bib you have a free entrance pass to enter the Christmas Story house which is now a museum. Also they have your standard tents to receive bananas, cookies, water...etc..etc..etc.. Now the 10k portion loops back and their finish line is at the Higbee's store where the race began. For those who just ran the 5k there are buses provided to give runners a ride back to the beginning.
Now there was a glitch this year as they ran out of medals due to a shipping error. They will be mailing out the medals to the runners who did not receive it. So for a race that's only two years old I will give them a pass. Now the area where the race ends is close to a cool part of Cleveland known for their breweries. I highly recommend hitting Bier Market, Garden Market Brewery, and Great Lakes Brew Pub...which are located within a block of each other. Also there is a fantastic indoor market full of fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, cheeses, and baked goods.
Also the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is there not to mention a lot of cool haunted areas to visit.
There one thing I did leave out....most of the runners dress up as the characters in the movie. Don't be surprised to see an army of pink bunny outfits, old school looking burglars, and a guy running with a flag pole stick to his tongue.
So check out this race for 2015. It's a very fun race and a city worth checking out.