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Like most good ideas, it all started with a small group of passionate people. Such is the case with the second annual Cleveland Rock Hall Half Marathon happening Downtown on Aug. 14.
"It all started when a grassroots group of local runners came to us because they saw a void in the running schedule here in Cleveland. They thought there was an opportunity to really embrace the rock and roll spirit that lives here," said Todd Mesek, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
That group was Greater Cleveland XC, a small event timing management company specializing in the staging of athletic events and chip timing/scoring.
"We wanted to host a premier race that's focused on the runner, for the runner," Bill Dennison, co-director of the Cleveland Rock Hall Half Marathon and Greater Cleveland XC, said.
Dennison also is the owner of Second Sole in Greater Cleveland and Mentor, a running specialty store selling everything from running shoes to compression socks. On top of that, he's the coach of a local high school track team.
Needless to say, this guy knows a thing or two about running.
"What will make this race different is the quality," Dennison said. "That means a great course race, great medals and great food afterwards."
The 13.1-mile haul will start and end at the Rock Hall. It will take a course that heads through bustling Downtown, eccentric Mid-Town, gorgeous University Circle on Martin Luther King Boulevard and then sidling along the Lake Erie shoreline. See here for the full course map.
"The race is a certified USATF course, the mile markers are going to be where they need to be, the spits are on and water stations will be staffed with the right amount of people," he added.
For those seeking a shorter distance run, the event also will feature the Rock City 5K through Downtown.
Like with any good race, it all concludes with a proper afterparty. This one happens to be at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where every entrant to the half marathon will receive a free ticket.
"The post-race party is about celebrating what the runners just accomplished," Mesek said. "There are a lot of different types of runners - all with different levels of experience. Some of them treat the race as a training ground, while some consider this a major accomplishment. We wanted to bring them all together to celebrate what they just did."
The post-race party is expected to be a rather tasty affair with a variety of food vendors and restaurants offering up their finest. As for the music, the School of Rock All-Stars, a performance-based music school for kids, will be rockin' out for two solid hours.
"We want people to stick around and enjoy Cleveland with a great party atmosphere," Dennison said.
Still contemplating your registration? According to Dennison, you're getting quite the bang for your buck. The under-a-hundred-bucks half marathon registration includes an ornate double guitar medal, a unique course, a Nike Dri-FIT shirt, food, entertainment and, of course, a ticket to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
And, of course, you get to experience Cleveland.
"You see so much happening in Cleveland right now. There's such energy and an incredible buzz downtown," Mesek said.
Outside of that, this is a race for legit runners who seek the crème-de-la-crème when it comes to racing intricacies. Its promise of high quality has already attracted runners from 36 states and other countries.
"It's all about the runner first. We want to give runners a quality race they deserve," Dennison said.
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