Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon



About the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is in its 42nd year of providing a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities. More than 350,000 runners have participated, generating more than $15 million annually to benefit the Cleveland community.

Mission Statement

  • To provide a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities.
  • To produce an event that highlights the Cleveland community and provides a positive economic impact for the community.
  • To give charities an opportunity to benefit financially from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.

The Cleveland Marathon began in 1978 in an effort to bring a positive and meaningful fitness event to the City of Cleveland. The original course began at Cleveland State University and traveled west to Bay Village and back. Some of the race’s most tremendous growth has occurred under the Rite Aid Pharmacy sponsorship since 2003, in which time race participation has grown 300 percent.

Some notable facts about the race are as follows:

  • First to offer finishing runners large cash prizes. $150,000 total for the 10K and Marathon winners (male & female) was the first cash prize in 1988.
  • First to invite elite runners from the Soviet Union to the marathon during the Cold War.
  • First to incorporate a 10K race into the marathon events in 1978.
  • World record (former) in the 10K for a male, 27:20, was set in 1996 by Joseph Kimani of Kenya.
  • One of the 50 oldest marathons in the country.
  • The half marathon event was added in 2005 for runners or walkers.
  • Cleveland Marathon changed its course for the first time, in order to view many of the scenic aspects of the city, in 2004 for its 27th race.
  • Three people have won the Cleveland Marathon three times each.
    • Men: Pablo Vigil (1980, 1981, 1988) – Best time of 2:15:19
    • Men: Demetrio Cabanillas (1983, 1984, 1985) – Best time of 2:16:13
    • Women: Lyubov Klochko (1992, 1993, 1994) – Best time of 2:34:37
  • Cleveland Marathon Charities, a 501 (c) 3, was created by the marathon in 2007 to coordinate and organize local charitable organizations’ participation in the event and reward them financially. $40,000 was distributed that year alone.
  • Reno Starnoni, a Cleveland running legend, was the first race director. He designed the first course.
  • The “We Run This City” Youth Marathon Program was launched in 2006 as a collaboration between the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, the Cleveland Department of Public Health and the Case Western Reserve University Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. The program has grown from 81 kids in the first year to over 700 participants in 2012.
  • Rite Aid Cleveland 5K held its first race in 2009.
  • The marathon passes notable and historic landmarks such as: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, FirstEnergy Stadium, Home of the Cleveland Browns, Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, Ohio City, West Side Market, Tremont, Playhouse Square Theater District, the Lake Erie shoreway, University Circle, Rockefeller Park, Great Lakes Science Center and more.
  • Purpose of starting the race was to promote an environment of fitness and wellness and to add something positive to a city that was at rock-bottom in 1978.
  • Executive Director, Jack Staph, has been involved in the race since the first year. His son, Ralph, now serves as the Race Director.


Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

Event Details

Location 1085 West 3rd Street
United States


Event Rating


Race Details

Select Race
Discipline Running
Start Date/Time May 16, 2020 @ 8:00 am
End Date/Time N/A
Address Cleveland
Map View Map

Reviews Write a Review

August 20th, 2016 6:08 am

I did the Cleveland Marathon Challenge that included the 8k race on Saturday and the 1/2 marathon on Sunday. This is a decent race, but nothing spectacular.
The extra perks for completing the challenge (i.e., extra medal, shoe bag, water bottle) were nice extras, the medal was awesome, the expo was standard fare and well organized... but there really wasn't anything about this race that made me say 'wow!'

The official hotel of the race - the Hyatt - was awful. They were not willing to accommodate a late checkout and did not have a breakfast for runners the morning of the marathon race. When we addressed this in a follow up email with the race director and the manager of the hotel, we were told that we were wrong and were made to feel like cheapskates looking for a handout rather than persons trying to offer genuine feedback. Speaking to other runners who stayed at our hotel and other hotels near the start line, we found that other runners from our hotel did not have breakfast and had to survive the race on energy bars and gels; while runners from the other hotels were given breakfast and allowed to checkout late.

May 28th, 2013 9:09 am

Great race as the crowd was fantastic. First half of the full marathon was extremely beautiful and good crowd support. However, it was very crowded having over 10000 runners start together. I think having corrals or splitting up the half and full marathoners with 15 minute or half an hour start time would help alleviate the congestion.

The EXPO was nice and it had a nice race shirt as well. Lots of hotels nearby and the race is conveniently located in downtown Cleveland. We stayed at the Radisson and it was about a mile away from the start and finish line. Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame, Browns Stadium, Quicken Loans area, Progressive field and casino are all within walking distance.

May 21st, 2013 2:44 pm

Just ran the Cleveland Marathon. Friendly city, boring marathon. The first half had some nice neighbourhoods to run through unfortunately there were so many half-marathoners it was difficult to do anything but watch our footing. Too many runners wearing headphones cutting people off, bumping into others...it was annoying and I was glad to see them head to the finish line. It was hot but I was prepared and that didn't bother me although the concrete roads did. Expo and race shirt were typical, medal was nice, volunteers and water stations were outstanding. We stayed in Independence at a Marriott which was phenomenal and I would recommend it.

Jenna hatfield
May 21st, 2013 8:14 am

This was my first half, but I've run shorter races in the past so I'm not a total newbie runner. I chose Cleveland (over my hometown of Pittsburgh) because of the advertised "flat and fast." It was not flat, but I train on hills, so I wasn't affected. That said, the hills caught a lot of people off guard and I had to bob and weave around people stopping in front of me on hills.

The heat was the killer on this one and I gave up on my 10:00 pace at mile 10 -- when the sun really came out full force. The humidity was wicked even before that point.

I am considering running it again next year. The reason? The Cleveland Marathon staff (twitter team and beyond) made a huge difference in my experience as it was my first time. Also, the volunteers were amazing. As Ohio is my home state now (I grew up in Pgh, PA), I feel drawn to participating more HERE than THERE, so I'm having an internal debate on which to choose next May!

May 20th, 2013 10:19 am

Great race!! Start/finish venue by Browns stadium had lots of space and lots of bathrooms. As it was a hit day the Popsicles at the finish line were amazing. Plus games and characters for kids to enjoy. Nice flat course, road was a bit rough in spots with potholes and crossing the bridge soon after the start was freaky feeling the cement undulating under your feet. Host hotel was very nice though 2 hr wait to get room service prerace made us go elsewhere- Noodle cat which was crazy awesome with a full gluten free and vegan menus. Expo had lots of good deals and sales on current gear and free parking or free shuttle from host hotel was a bonus. Great support, nice city and great race.

Dylan Garritano
June 2nd, 2012 9:08 pm

Decent experience overall. Expo at the IX Center was lame, however I was able to get out of the eight dollar parking fee by parking on the street before the parking lot.
Lines for the port a johns seemed longer than usual, so I opted to use the restrooms in Brown's Stadium. The only problem was that the water was shut off. What's the deal with that?
I ran in the 10k so I cannot speak for the full/half marathon course, but I did enjoy the 10k route. The roads were not in the best of shape, but what I did not understand why there were city workers painting a crosswalk during the race! Running through the fresh stink of wet paint was not pleasant. Also, there was one intersection near mile 5 where there was no traffic control and there were cars driving straight across the race course! The race officials need to make sure that every intersection is covered for the safety of the runners.
Overall I did enjoy the 2012 Cleveland Experience, but there are plenty of things that the race directors need to work on for next year. I do not think that the course needs to change every year, though. How is it possible to really have a course record when runners run a different route nearly every year?!

May 28th, 2012 11:45 pm

I really enjoyed running about the first 20 miles of the race. There where water stops everywhere and great views of the water. I got to run through a lot of Cleveland neighborhoods I had never been to too.
about mile 21-24 it was in a sketchy neighborhood though, that is the only part I would change.
But I had a great first marathon!

May 26th, 2012 5:56 am

I was once again disappointed in this event. I did the half marathon walking division. It is wonderful that the race has a walking division but for the half marathon, the people signing up as walkers RUN and it seems intentional. The race directors refuse to do anything about this but encourage an honor system.
I also thought that the design of the shirt was very nice but the color was heinous. The expo was pretty skimpy with not much to offer that was exciting.
With the exception of the frozen fruit pops, the food at the end was basically junk.
I am giving this race two bananas because it my home town, the medal is great, and the course is finally includes some great neighborhoods and highlights of the city.
However, I will NOT be recommending this to anyone I know because it is not walker friendly.

Lisa and Dave Farrall
May 24th, 2012 2:22 pm

Our first marathon (Dave)/half-marathon (Lisa) in Cleveland; Dave's 50th marathon. The expo was great, but not the $8/parking at the IX Center--ripoff. The shirts and medals were great--love the spinning guitar. The weather was too hot, but the organizers have no control over that. There was some confusion at the start because some 10K runners were with the marathoners/half-marathoners! I don't know how that happened.

There was good support on the course. The music on the way was fun. There were gobs of volunteers which is so hard for event organizers to get, BUT they were in the way. There were so many of them at the water stops that they were blocking the road.

I wish we had ended up in the stadium--that would have been fun.

OK, beer for beer-drinkers was fine, but how about the rest of us? Wine coolers? Soda pop?

May 23rd, 2012 8:30 am

Having the festivities in and around Brown's Stadium was certainly a big draw for me; although, I was disappointed that the half-marathon didn't have access to the field like the 5k did. I enjoyed the route for the most part, although my eyes had to be on the constant lookout for potholes. The shaded neighbourhoods were a welcome break from the hot sun.

Having ran Boston in the heat a month ago, I was glad I wasn't doing a full that day. They should have definitely amped up the supplies at the water stations in accordance with the heat. Was shocked that they were only on one side of the road! More spray stations would have been nice too...luckily some residents came out with their hoses.

Loved the finishline festivities (hello beer tent) and especially the popcycles and spray station after you finish. Great looking finisher's medal too.

An event not without its flaws, but a fun experience overall!

May 22nd, 2012 10:24 pm

Same number of water stops as usual for this race, but the weather was anything but normal. The number of stations definitely should have been increased due to the unbearable weather. Some stations were out of water and the Poweraid was really diluted. I didn't mind that, but I wonder if that contributed to the number of people who went down from dehydration. I did the full, and by the time I finished the Popsicles and chocolate milk were long gone. I guess the half marathoners used those all up, which is sad as the people who really needed it were the ones that were out there for 4+ hours. I definitley felt I needed/earned/deserved more than a water and a banana at the finish. The medical staff was very on top of things. The couple times I saw someone in trouble, I was able to find help almost immediately. And someone rushed to help me at the finish before I even knew I needed help. 5 stars to the medical team, for sure.

I didn't really mind the new hill due to the course change - it was short and I did expect it, so no big deal. I did mind that the course seemed super long. I cut corners as much as I could, sometimes even going off course, and still ended up running 26.5+. Frustrating.

My 2nd straight CLE. There won't be a 3rd.

Sanjay Mohanta
May 22nd, 2012 10:02 am

My 37th Marathon! My third in five weeks. I have some issues with the race but I liked:
1. The shirt: Coolness of shirts is the reason I don't do races in Canada anymore. This shirt was awesome and the medal...
2. Coolness of Medal: A spinning guitar. Amazing! My neice and nephew in TO are looking at it now.
3. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - great place to start and end race.

Areas for improvement:
Water Stations - they ran out at many stations in the beginning. It was a hot day and I had a camelback but unacceptable since they called for hot weather for a week.
Ipods - I know, but hear me out. I saw too many collapsed runners asking for help and runners with earbuds running on by. I think they should be banned. I don'T wear them and there were atleast three times I stopped and waited for volunteers/ambulances to help the runners. More volunteers the last five miles would be good as well.
3. Showers - my hotel didn't extend the check out time and there were no gyms in the downtown core with shower facilities. Driving back 10 hours sweaty is not cool. I stopped at a truck stop an hour out of town and showered there. Maybe the organizors should cut a deal with Cleaveland state University to use showers like the TO marathon does with U of T?

May 21st, 2012 9:30 am

I love the Cleveland Marathon. There are so many nice views of the lake and downtown and the medals and expo are always great! What could be better is definately the start line down at Browns stadium. There is so much confusion and congestion. Maybe signs inside the stadium to say where the exit will shoot you out on the start line would keep the crowd under better control and prevent that gridlock at the start line. Also, this is the birthplace of Rock and Roll- how about some bands out there people??? I saw a few, but not alot. Many people from other states and countrys coming into town. We should show them a fun course. Plus, bands bring out more crowd support. Beware runners! dont make the mistake of parking in the wrong lot either! I parked in the same spot that cost me 6 bucks last year. This year it was 25.00 due to the casino....ouch!!

May 20th, 2012 8:47 pm

I've walked the 10K in 2011 and 2012 but ran the half marathons in Columbus in 2011 and was a spectator at the Chicago Marathon (my comparisons). I cannot speak to the half marathon and marathon courses, but the 10K course is always through depressing parts of the city, and there are very few spectators lining the course until you get to the end. The roads are in poor condition which can be problematic for runners. Overall, poor traffic control throughout the course. When you get near the end, it's kind of a free for all. There are no barriers to prevent the spectators or people who have already finished from getting back on the course. Today there was a lady in her skirt and high heels drinking a latte and chatting on her phone walking smack dab in the middle of the course! This has the potential to be great, but there are always the same issues which seem to have not improved over the past two years. Also, my fiance did not receive his shirt for the half marathon because they had run out of smalls and mediums way before the end of packet pickup.

Peter Donato
May 19th, 2012 1:29 pm

Okay, so now I just finished the 5km, finally after all these years I have attended this great race weekend. I was surprised that the tshirt was cotton, the route is an excellent loop in downtown Cleveland, start/finish outside Browns Stadium, using the concession stand as the race morning pickup! Can you add fries to that.... You also pass the NBA arena and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, fully closed to traffic. The run was much smaller than I imagined it should be (1200), mostly charity runners so I wonder why the fleet of foot were not well represented? Joan Benoit, 2004 Gold Medal Olympian (now 54) even won the overall 5km for the ladies. It was a nice bonus to have a volunteer calling out the first two mile splits, but a KM marker each time would have been a bonus too. One water station, well stocked, the finish was excellent, right in the endzone! Very cool idea and this should only get bigger.

Mike Dickerson
May 19th, 2012 11:21 am

2011 Cleveland Marathon - Great first 13.1 mile. The last 4 miles are through the most depressing parts of Cleveland. Also, need to return the leg through Cleveland.

Randy Rich
May 19th, 2012 10:57 am

I have run the Cleveland Marathon in previous years and I feel that moving the start and finish to the Stadium was a very positive move. Allowing the runners to enter the stadium and use the facilities was also a very positive thing for runners in my opinion. The course itself was fair and fun with only a few hills. As a negative, the bad date on the ribbon was a little hokey, and there should have been blankets for the marathoners at the finish on a damp cool day.

ed Kerekes
May 19th, 2012 10:03 am

The marathon has a good course and good support. For a marathon that has been around for 35 years, there are way too many small issues. The parking map is never accurate. They ran out of several things at the end such as food and blankets. Also, the medal ribbon had the wrong year on it. This race has a lot of potential but does not seem to be moving forward. The start and finish line are great. Lots of bathrooms, good location. the course is well thought out. Please improve the logistics and the food and other support things you give runners. I live in the area so i will back

Lori Karpinecz
May 18th, 2012 12:44 pm

I have run both the half and 10km here on several occassions. The courses and routes have changed for the better over the years, showcasing the many communities of Cleveland. I like the events overall but they really must start getting some organization of the corrals at the start line. Otherwise a super weekend in Cleveland!

Delia Greenlees
March 22nd, 2012 10:30 am

Ran the Half and this is the first time I have run in the heat and it was not pretty!!!! There was a lot of confusion getting to the start, way way too many people running at the same time…took my group 8 minutes to get to the start after the official take off but once we were out it was not so bad…i wish people would not just STOP running when they are in the middle of the pack, had to dart around a lot of folks….The heat killed me, my pace buddy collapsed and we had to get a medic which was nice to see that they were visible and everywhere…they did an awesome job!!!! the water stations were everywhere but seriously??? water from the fire hydrants??? ewww….I was glad to see the volunteers hosing people down i know i personally needed that….the killer hill at Mile 10 was ridiculous…and that is where I almost gave up…it wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasnt so hot. I thought the crowds cheering was awesome, the bands playing were very cool and the course was excellent. the snacks at the end were a plenty and the finishers medal is so very cool….GOT TO MEET PETER FROM mynextrace.com…totally made my day LOL…As painful as this race was, too hot, my time was awful, it was still a good time and i would def do it again…if the weather is better:)

March 7th, 2012 2:42 pm

Great race! Enjoyed the course. The expo was great. Liked having a bus tour of the course before running it. Lot of spectators and good treats at the end of the race but they could give you a bag to put it all in. Fun in the park after and the 2 free beers were a bonus as well!

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