Pro Football HOF Marathon – Part Duex Recap

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.’ St. Jerome


This past Sunday was my 2nd running at the Pro Football HOF Marathon in Canton, OH.  This race has a special meaning to me as it was the first race I ever run in my short running career.  Yes I jumped straight to running the 26.2 mile distance before any other and I was back to better my time.

Leading up to the race I felt that my training had me headed down the right path to accomplish my goal, however what I would learn is several factors can influence the results that we deliver.

The race increased the number of runners by triple from the previous year.  Hats off to the race organizers to accomplishing this feat.  Additionally due to construction around the Pro Football Hall of Fame the race route was moved to a different location.  Logistics and race management hampered the enjoyment of this race.  Maybe it was poor planning or the significant increase in numbers.  Regardless of the factors I was going to have smiles during this race.

Race day morning was calling for hot and humid temperatures, which had me pre-hydrating the entire week.  I was prepared, or so I thought.  I woke up early on race day and had my usual pre race breakfast consisting of oats, banana and a cup of coffee.  I geared up and headed out the door to arrive at a congested parking situation.  The race ended up being delayed for 15-20 minutes due to the above mentioned.

The national anthem was sang and the cannons blasted off.  The corrals began emptying into the area neighborhood streets with the racer shuffle.  The pace was slow moving for the first mile or so then opened up.  I could feel the temperature getting warmer and knew it could be a potentially long day.   I was holding steady to my marathon pace of 7:45 up through mile 6.5, but began to cut back due to the hills and heat.  The crowds were sparse throughout the neighborhoods and outlying areas, but were very energetic in the city.  Plugging along was the theme of the morning and around mile 11 I knew that goals would be thrown out the window and I entered into survival mode.  I’ve always seemed to have issues with my calve muscles tightening up, which I need to figure out if it’s due to hydration or form, but at mile 14 began a small jog and walk shuffle.  The above continued for the next 10 miles.  Talk about disappointment as I wanted to best my previous time in this race.  Luckily I have a awesome support group and my wife continued to push me through and at multiple times insisted I stop for safety issues.  The final 6 miles of that course were by far the toughest, likely neighborhoods and a park.  The McKinnley Memorial came into sight and I knew the final 3 miles would be all uphill.  Remind me again who selects a course like that?  


At mile 25 I began asking myself and the Lord for the energy to run the final mile at a respectable pace.  In come Todd who was struggling to finish as well.  We both looked at each other and made a commitment to give it our all.  Fighting with a lower half that just shut down I pushed through.  Up ahead the finish line made its appearance, for the second time, and I sprinted to the finish line.  I had made it!!!  I looked up at the clock and instead of hanging my head I smiled and thanked my family and friends for motivating me to finish. 

Looking back this would not be the race I had planned for.  Like every up and down in life there are things I can takeaway from this race.  I will learn from those, reflect, and reset my mind in preparation for my next race.

Have you ever had a race that did not go as planned?  How did that help prepare you for the next race?

How do you handle race organization disruptions prior to the race? Do they have a negative impact on your run?

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