CLEVELAND – There is bound to be some tired bodies and blistered feet tonight, after thousands of runners took part in the 2015 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Humidity and a little rain did not deter some 18,000 runners from participating in the Cleveland Marathon, now it its 38th year. The marathoners went the 26.2 miles from Cleveland to Rocky River and back, fueled by true grit and determination.
Abraham Chelanga of Kenya won the men's marathon with a time of 2:16:20. But, for many it's not about finishing first, but rather just about finishing and doing their personal best. "Just to get better in general -- I always wanted to push myself. I got the support of my family and friends," Dave Malloy of Cleveland said after finishing the marathon.
Hundreds of Cleveland Metropolitan School children participated for the first time in a 1.2 mile fun run. "We’ve been training for like four months leading up to this. It was really a great experience. It was fun," 12-year-old Andreas Wilkins said.
Every runner has a story. Some run for a cause. Team Bracken from Ashland ran to raise funds and awareness for ALS. "Not for dad's diagnosis. We decided if he can't run a race like this, we might as well get him in a chair and do it ourselves,” Adam Bracken said.
Among the more determined runners was Parma Heights firefighter David Kaszar. He ran his first marathon in 40-pounds of full gear with three fellow firefighters, inspired by his dad, Phil, who has ALS. “Did it for my dad. Did it for this guy right here. He’s been fighting ALS for years now. And, we just love him so much. And, we knew we had to do something big to help spread the word everywhere,” Kaszar said.
In the end, no matter the reason and no matter the time, each runner was a winner for just crossing the finish line.