“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Glass City Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
For a few years now, the Glass City Marathon has been on my radar. My coachs wife has talked highly of it in the pass as she has had some success there over the years and I have been interested in giving it a shot. For 2017, I already had my marathon schedule set, with a full scheduled for a week after Glass City so I knew running the full marathon in Toledo was out. But then I got word from my coach that another one of his athletes (also a friend of mine), Derek, would be running the half and it would be helpful to him if I paced him in his attempt to set a new PR. I got in contact with Derek to see what his thoughts were and he also believed that it would help him so I made the commitment and registered. This would also make a great opportunity for a tune up run before my marathon.
I was not the only one in the family that would be running however. In fact, all members of the family were participating. All three kids would be taking part in the kids fun run on Saturday and on Sunday, my wife, Tina, would run the 5k with the girls while pushing Derek in the stroller.
We left shortly after 7:30 AM Saturday and made the 2 hour drive to Toledo. We arrived at the Expo soon after it opened inside Savage Arena on the campus of Toledo University. It was a very nice set up and was easy to navigate. There were a lot of local vendors as well official race merchandise to purchase.
One of the great things that the Glass City Marathon has to offer is special perks to first time marathoners. This is not for those who this is their first Glass City Marathon, but rather for runners who have decided to make Glass City their first ever full marathon. Includes for these runners were:
- Personal Concierge Service at Expo
- Elite Athlete Escort at Expo
- Special Recognition Package
- VIP Status at Post-race Party
I went to try packet Pickup area for these runners just to see what they had to offer. After I explained that I was not a first timer, they showed me all the goods (very sweet ladies). I did get a picture of the extra swag that first time marathoners got including a medal, a special shirt, a water bottle, and a pair of socks all branded with first time marathoner status and race logo. They made this weekend special for their athletes.
We got our gear (all 4 bibs) from packet pickup. They stresses in emails and social media posts to bring a form of ID and they do require you to show it to get your packet. We walked around the expo checking out the vendors. With kids, it is hard to truly look around due to them being impatient so we didn’t buy anything. Expo fun.
If you bring your kids to the expo, there is a whole separate expo just for them. The kids expo is located in the upper level of Savage Arena. There were vendors there such as Chic-Fil-A (more on them later), local hospital, police department, fire department, and a lot more all with kids activities. This is also where you pick up the kids fun run packets. We probably spennt more time at the kids expo than at the regular expo.
After the kids expo, we took all our bags out to the car, grabbed the kids lunches that we made before leaving home, put on their kids fun run bibs and went out to the track.
The kids fun run was held at the university track. For the entry fee of $10 (or $15 for day of registration), you got your money’s worth. Kids got a tshirt, a teddy bear, and a medal. Oh, and after they finished, they got a free Chic-Fil-A kids meal. Made me a little jealous (side note, I did get Chic-Fil-A for myself for lunch to calm my jealousy). They had 3 different race distances kids. Kids 2-3 could do the quarter mile. Kids 4-12 could do either the half mile of mile. The quarter mile and half mile were on the track and the mile was around campus and finished on the track. All 3 races were held separately. Prior to the race the Toledo Univ. football team led the kids in stretching.
Derek took part in the 800, however, as 4 year olds can do sometimes, he was in one of those moods that he didn’t want to do anything. Let’s just say he only did a quarter mile and Tina carried him part of the way.
The girls both did a mile. We let Emma, our oldest, run alone as she enjoys running and doesn’t need that much encouragement. I ran with Chloe. She has her spurts on if she likes running or doesn’t. Both girls did well in their mile runs and Chloe did run the whole mile without walking. In fact, she came close to a PR. If we didn’t start in the back, she could have possibly gotten it. Photo credit to Ashley JagerPhoto credit to Ashley Jager.
After the kids run we did some walking around at a local mall, checked into the hotel, ordered our pre race pasta dinner, ate in the hotel lobby, allowed kids to swim, and called it a night.
The alarm wentboff at 4:45am and it was race day. As an adult, you have enough to do to get ready for a race in the morning. Getting three kids ready as well, just adds on a lot more. None the less, we actually got out the door at probably about 5:30 and arrived back on campus at 5:45. The race had a map of all the parking on campus. We parked in a lot further away from the starting line but was guaranteed to be able to leave right after finishing.
The race day weather was perfect. Temps at the start were in the mid 40s and no wind at all. Skies were also sunny.
At 7:00, we were in our corrals and the race started at 7:05. As I stated at the beginning of the review, my goal was to pace Derek to a new PR, hopefully under a 1:43. We aimed to average between 7:45-7:53 miles but starting out slow while trying to get through the crowds. Starting further back is not something that I am used to do I had to get used to zig zagging through the crowds at the same time making sure not to lose Derek.
We successfully made it through the first mile. We were successful in startingbof conservatively and ran an 8:03 mile. Then bladder issues hit me and had to find a bush. I just told Derek I would catch up. Apparently too much socializing before therace and eneough time in the port a potty lines. No problem though, I cought right back up with Derek. Apparently though my absence made him speed up because we ran a 7:34 mile.
Another pre race instruction I gave Derek was to not use more energy on the uphills as you do on the flat sections of the course. The first hill was on mile 3 and we ran it perfectly. Slowed down to a 7:45 mile.
Through out the rest of the race I gave instructions to Derek that we needed to back off and telling him we will judge how he feels at mile 10 to decide if we want to pick up the pace. However Mile 7 we started to pick things up. At around mile 5 however, my latter felt it again and I needed to make another stop. Rarely do I need to stop to use a bathroom during a race, let alone twice. I gave Derek strict instructions that under no circumstance is he to pass the 1:45 pacer (who was way ahead of pace). So I stoped at the next aid station. I rejoined Derek and he was still behind the 1:45 pacer as instructed.
- Mile 4- 7:47
- Mile 5- 7:47
- Mile 6- 7:44
- Mile 7- 7:36
- Mile 8- 7:36
Mile 9, I am listening to Derek’s footsteps and they seem to be getting heavier. I didn’t say anything to him but I am starting to wonder if we should have backed off more in the earlier miles. At this point, we were taking it Mile by mile. But at mile 10, Derek stated his legs were tired but his breathing still sounded good.
- Mile 9- 7:45
- Mile 10- 7:30
- Mile 11- 7:25
At the end on mile 11, I started to do the math on where we would finish and I saw we could get under a 1:42. I asked Derek if he wanted to know what we were on pace for and he would not hear it.
Still taking it mile by mile we are getting close to the finish and a new PR for Derek. At this point, I am intentionally leading Derek instead of running beside him, trying to keep him going and pulling him along. Mile 12 was a little slower but it also had the last uphill climb on it. Once we got over it, it was all downhill from there. As we continued strong on the last mile, Derek stated that he felt like it was falling apart with less than half a mile to go. I yelled at him: “It should feel that you, you are almost atbyhe finish line. The stadium is right there!” (I am a mean pacer.)
- Mile 12- 7:45
- Mile 13- 7:28
After crossing the finishline and receiving our honking huge medal in the shape of Ohio, we got our official finishers photos and found our wives and my kids. Derek was obviously warm out, as he should have been. He pushed it hard to the end.
After recovering for a little bit on the field of the Glass Bowl, we headed out the north end of the stadium. When exiting the stadium you were handed a glass mug that you can have filled twice with a post race beer. Mugs waiting for half marathon finishers.
There was also the food line. On the menu was bananas, oranges, pretzels, bagels, and pizza. Pizza before 9:00? Sure, why not?! Also had desert breadsticks which were very good.
Following the race, I got a chance to meet back up with Matt and also meet another fellow BibRave Pro Jeph. Both of these guys ran outstanding half marathons.
My Thoughts on the Glass City Marathon
- The price: For a half marathon, and marathon, I felt the price was real reasonable. The marathon fees start at $70 and goes up to $95. The half starts at $60 and moves up to $85 leading up to the race. There is also a relay option that starts at $40 per person and goes up to $55. The only Race that I thought was over priced was the 5k. The fees started off at $30 and went up to $45. Given that they got a cotton shirt seemed to be a little high. The steal of the weekend was the kids fun run. For $10 ($15 on race day), your kids got a shirt, medal, teddy bear, and Chic-Fil-A kids meal.
- Race day parking: while not right by the start line r, it really wasn’t that bad. We walked about a mile from our car to the start. We managed that with 2 kids. If they can handle the walk, so can you. Haha
- The Expo: the expo was easy to navigate and if you were just wanting to get in and out quickly, you could do so. There was a wide range of vendors as well as other races represented. The kids expo is also a great touch with a lot of activities for the little ones.
- Kids Fun Run: just awesome. That’s about all I can say. It would be worth the 2 hour drive alone for our family. Well done!
- Start line: the starting line is on the north end of campus. Very nice location. It was a little confussing on where gear check was at. Maybe just a little more signage is needed in this area.
- The course (half marathon): I loved the course. There are a few hills but nothing big and scary. This course is FAST!!! It also goes around the outside of the college campus and through some very nice neighborhoods with quiet a bit of crowd support. My one complaint about the course is out of race managements hands, and that’s the road surface. Some roads were rough and need repaving.
- Finish Area: the race finishes with you entering the gates at the North East corner of the Glass Bowl stadium and you run to the finishline at the 50 yard line. The field turf so it were raining, it wouldn’t be muddy. It was a pretty sweet finish.
- After race party: following your finish you could get your finishers photo taken and then head out to the party outside the north end of the stadium. First you got your glass finishers mug to be used for your post race beer, then onto the food line with fruit, pretzels, and pizza. Tables were set up in the post race party area to stand at and east. The party was also right by the last stretch of the race so you were able to cheer on other runners as they finished. There was also a cover band playing at the party that would also take requests (play “Free Bird!”). But seriously, they were good and played a variety of music.
- Swag: I like the race shirt. Nice simple design and not cluttered with sponsors. The medals were cool and in the shape of Ohio. The glass mug at the finish was a nice touch.
Overall, this was a great race. Will I come back? Well, my wife has already registered to run the half marathon. They are running a special for the 10th anniversary of the Half by allowing the first 500 runners register for $35! Even before she decided to do that, I wanted to come back and run the full marathon and get another BQ. Speaking of BQ, check out the special shirts you can order to show off your BQ accomplishment at the race! I want one next year and I am coming for you!!!!