The men’s winner came out of nowhere at mile 24 to seize the lead.
CLEVELAND – (May 15, 2011) – The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon saw participation increase more than 250 percent since Rite Aid became the title sponsor – from 5,200 participants in 2003 to 18,269 in this year’s 34th running on Sunday morning. Both the half and full marathon sold out for the second time in the marathon’s 34-year history.
“The crowd support was outstanding today,” said Executive Race Director Jack Staph. “Sometimes when the rain starts coming down, the fans don’t stay. But today they were alive, excited and cheering on our runners and walkers all throughout the course and finish line.”
A record 18,269 runners participated in the 2011 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K events, including a 5K on Saturday that drew 1,011 runners, the We Run This City Program that had 705 school-aged participants from Cleveland Municipal School District, and another 553 children who participated in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Red Nose Children’s Run on Saturday on the field at the Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“We are so pleased to show the City of Cleveland in such a great light for so many thousands of people,” said Staph. “This is a great city, featuring a flat and fast course, and it seems more and more people are enjoying what we call ‘the Cleveland Experience.'”
R.P. White, a 24-year-old runner from Ypsilanti, Mich., was the first to cross the marathon finish line with a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, 59 seconds. With a light mist coming down, he came out of seemingly nowhere near mile 24 to claim the lead. For most of the race, White was at least a half mile behind Cory Scheadler.
“The best marathon advice I’ve received was to not burn your fuel out early in the race,” White said. “I saw Scheadler coming back at me and I thought I might be able to pass him, so I picked up the pace a little and was able to take the lead. This is only my second marathon – so I’m thrilled about the win!”
Scheadler, 28, of Columbus, Ohio, came in second in 2:28:29, followed by 29-year-old Jason Pyles of Charleston, WV at 2:31:59.
Twenty-five-year-old Nicole Camp of Sterling, Ohio, won the women’s marathon for the second year in a row, finishing in 2:43:47, beating her 2010 time by a little more than 12 minutes. St. Charles, MO resident Jackie Pirtle-Hall, 28, finished second in 2:47:05. She was followed by Jennifer Bigham, 29, of Rochester, NY who finished in 2:53:41.
Thirty-year-old David Keenan from Tonawanda, NY, finished first in the men’s half-marathon with a 1:10:27 clocking, while Marian Pyles, a 27-year-old runner from Charleston, WV, led the women’s half-marathon in 1:21:11. Her husband, Jeff, placed third in the marathon.
The half-marathon had an event record of approximately 8,319 participants.
Common with the 10K race, elite international runners dominated the top spots for the men’s and women’s events. Ethiopian runner Kumsa Adugna and Kenyan runner Everlyne Lagat won the men’s and women’s races, respectively and each took home a $1500 purse.
Adugna, 24, finished in 29:48, while Lagat, 30, clocked a 34:00. Adugna was followed by Kenyans Festus Langat, 26, who finished in 29:53 and Aron Rono, 28, in 29:54.
Risper Gesabwa, 22, of Kenya was runner-up in the women’s 10K in 34:04. She was followed by 28-year-old Alison Grace-Morgan of Lexington, KY who ran 34:15.
The 2011 race featured 17 neighborhood parties, and another 14 music stations and bands along the course. The Tremont neighborhood, a new and beloved addition to the 2010 course was packed with parties, cheering sections, choirs and other festivities again this year. The finish line area, which featured live bands, a beer garden, massage tents and a meet and greet with Cleveland Brown’s defensive back, Joe Haden – was overflowing with family and friends of runners enjoying the sights of the North Coast Harbor with the finish line situated just between the Great Lakes Science Center and Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Registration has opened for the 2012 race, scheduled for Sunday, May 20.