One of the most popular Boston Marathon qualifiers in the Great Lakes region, the Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon, was forced to alter its 2023 course due to major construction on its annual route. Organizers redesigned the race to keep it inside Cleveland’s city limits but at the expense of runners, who had to make 65 turns over the 42.2-kilometre distance during Sunday’s race.
In previous years, the race has gone into the west Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, but construction on Lake Avenue has blocked off a significant portion of the course. The 2019 course featured only 42 turns.
The race announced that the course would be altered in March, but that did not stop participants from taking to Twitter to voice their opinion.
“I have seen a lot of bad courses, but this takes the cake. Yuck,” one user said.
“It felt like a four-year-old drew random lines on streets,” said another. “It looked like a prank.”
A Strava user captioned his race, “To the untrained eye, this is a terrible marathon course, and they would be correct; but for those with refined tastes, this is the juiciest, most desirable Strava map.”
A few participants also voiced concerns on Facebook, stating that the number of turns created inaccuracies in their GPS. Although, the new course was measured and certified by USATF for the correct distance.
Despite the turns, several participants had positive feedback and pointed out how well-marked everything was. “The organizers did a great job, and it ended up being a great course,” one finisher tweeted.
The argument behind having a straight course is that it requires less energy output for the runner than a course with turns. If you are running in a straight line, it is easier to hold and stick at a pace. With turns, runners are forced to slow down and change paces accordingly, outputting more energy to get back up to speed.
Over 8,000 runners participated in Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon race weekend, with 1,232 runners taking part in the marathon from nine countries First-time marathoner Will Loevner of Pittsburgh, Penn., won the marathon in 2:19:56.
Ashton Swinfordfrom Hudson, Ohio, won the women’s marathon for the second year in a row in 2:47:37.