The Suburbanite
  • Marathon organizers: Inaugural race a success

  • CantonRep.com/marathon: Organizers of first-time race deem it a success. They credit law enforcement for keeping runners, drivers safe and are already looking forward to improving the next Canton Marathon, which is set for June 16, 2013.

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  • The sun came up Monday. No, Canton Marathon executives Julia Dick and Stephen Mears weren’t enjoying the view from a distant beach.
    They were out picking up both empty and full water bottles off the course and thinking about what had transpired during the previous 24 hours when more than 5,000 runners took part in their marathon, half marathon, 10K, relay and wheelchair races.
    “Overall, it came out better than expected,” Dick said. “Everything from the registration numbers to the weather to the outpouring of support along the routes to the happy, incredible people who finished.”
    “I’m having difficulties holding onto things, my hand hurts so much,” said Mears, who shook hands of nearly all who finished at Fawcett Stadium. “But it is worth every ounce of the pain. For those who finished 6.2, 13.1 and 26.2 miles, it’s the least I could do.”
    By most any measure, Sunday’s races seemed to be a success. Dick said there were entrants from 41 states and three countries. Besides the huge numbers for a first-time race, the most obvious success was that no one who entered suffered any serious injuries related to the race.
    “The residents (around the area) saw lots of law enforcement officials out on the course,” Mears said. “There’s a reason for it, to have a safe race. And there were no taxpayer dollars involved. The Canton Marathon paid for it.”
    “The support on the course of the police, fire and EMTs was outstanding,” said Dick. “The cooperation between the five municipalities involved was outstanding.”
    The weather was key, Mears said, noting lower than expected humidity and temperatures. “We had a safe race with more opportunities for hydration than needed.”
    “We had more volunteers on course than needed,” he added. “People just came out. A person put a sprinkler out on the curb — they were a volunteer, they got involved.”
    It wasn’t perfect, though. There were the little snags that befall first-time ventures.
    A crush of last-minute arrivals of supporters and racers around 5:30 a.m. caused start times to be pushed back by about 15 minutes. Some people who finished were not being recognized by the official timing system (which was being corrected by tape review on Monday). Some racers veered off course, some adding miles, some running fewer. A male runner was first listed as a female after finishing.
    “Getting the racers to the starting line on time,” was the biggest concern of the day, Dick said. “Parking and moving them, we’ll have to do a better job” in the future.
    She said the marathon committee has already begun its review. “We will critically look at every aspect of it. But we are already looking forward to 2013, the 50th anniversary of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and how we can celebrate (together).”
    Page 2 of 2 - Mears said the 2013 race will be June 16 — Father’s Day.
    From the pre-race expos and kids’ race on the weekend to the medals and finishing the race at Fawcett Stadium, the racers’ comments were uplifting, Mears said.
    “You only have one chance to make a good first impression,” he said, “and I think we made a good impression.”

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