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Monday, 22 May 2017 19:27

40th Anniversary of Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Highlights City Landmarks for Nearly 15,000 Runners

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City of Cleveland proclaims May 21, 2017 “Jack Staph Day” in honor of long-time executive race director - CLEVELAND (May 21, 2017) – Nearly 15,000 runners were treated to a new and scenic course for the 40th anniversary of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Spirits were high amongst runners and thousands of spectators at the starting line just outside the Quicken Loans Arena, the home of the reigning NBA champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In addition to the Quicken Loans Arena, runners passed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, FirstEnergy Stadium, Great Lakes Science Center, Tremont and Ohio City – both popular neighborhoods, West Side Market, Playhouse Square, Edgewater Park and the newly renovated Public Square, the location of this year’s finish line.

“I was so proud of our city this weekend,” said Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon executive director Jack Staph. “We showed 15,000 runners from around the country and world how special the City of Cleveland is and how far we’ve come in recent years. I’ve been part of this race for 40 years, and this was one of our best weekends.”

Staph was recognized at the start line by the City of Cleveland with a proclamation from Mayor Frank Jackson officially naming May 21, 2017 as “Jack Staph Day” in honor of his contributions to the health and wellness of the city throughout his 40-year tenure with the event. On Friday at the VIP Party, Staph was also recognized by Martin Sweeney, The Ohio House’s 14th District representative, with an additional resolution recognizing the 40th anniversary of the race.

Tisia Kiplangat of Kenya, won the men’s marathon with a time of 2:20:25, while Ethiopian Serkalem Abrha won the women’s marathon, completing the course in 2:42:08. Kiplangat led from wire-to-wire, pulling away from the competition with a 4:57 split in mile 16 en route to breaking the finish line tape more than three-and-a-half minutes ahead of the runner-up.

Kenyans Kipkoech Ruto (2:24:02) and Geofrey Terer (2:27:26) finished second and third, respectively, behind Kiplangat. Gadise Megersa of Ethiopia, finished second in the women’s marathon with a time of 2:44:43. She was followed by Sarah Horbol from Westlake, Ohio, who finished in 2:56:31. Marathon winners Kiplangat and Abrha each won $3,000.

The 40th annual event included a 10K, half marathon and full marathon on Sunday and a 5K, 8K and Kids’ Run on Saturday. Walking divisions were offered in all race distances. Additionally, 10 participants took part in the hand crank wheelchair division. This was the second year of the marathon’s Challenge Series, which gave competitors an opportunity to compete in more than one race over the weekend. With tens of thousands of people heading downtown for the Health & Fitness Expo and races, more than $18 million was pumped into the Cleveland economy during the three-day event.

“Runners have already commented about the courses this year and how great the scenery was – in the 10K, half and full races, said Ralph Staph, race director. “We are thrilled at the number of residents who came out to cheer and celebrate all throughout downtown, as well as Ohio City, Tremont and Lakewood. We really wanted the 40th running to feel special for our athletes.”

Elite Kenyan runners claimed the top two slots in both the men’s and women’s 10K competition. On the men’s side Edwin Rotich (28:58) edged out countryman Julius Kogo (29:23) by nearly 30 seconds as he turned in the fastest time since the 2013 edition of the race. American Andrew Colley (Blowing Rock, N.C.) came in third with a time of 29:39. Gladys Kipsoi (33:28) topped Mary Wangui (33:45) to win the women’s competition. Allie Kieffer (Buffalo, N.Y.) was third at 34:09. Rotich and Kipsoi earned $2,000 each for their victories.

Clevelander Kenneth Sullivan won the half marathon race, finishing in 1:12:34 to edge Beachwood, Ohio native Patrick Sovacool (1:12:43) by just nine seconds. Aaron Apathy (Cleveland) finished third, turning in a time of 1:14:41. Kathryn Falkenberg (Uniontown, Ohio) took top honors in the women’s half marathon with a time of 1:23:44. She was followed by Samantha Norman (Cleveland) and Jessica Zangmeister (Fairview Park, Ohio), who finished in 1:25:01 and 1:27:06, respectively.

Sunday’s events also included the 12th annual We Run This City Youth Marathon program, which had 750 school-aged participants from Cleveland Municipal School District. Most of the kids ran the final 1.2 miles of their 26.2-mile training that occurred throughout the spring. Other students opted for longer events at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, with an impressive 224 students registered for the 10K, another 11 in the half marathon and one young man in the full marathon. The youth health and fitness program has won national awards and produced thousands of youth runners in Cleveland. Information is available at

Saturday’s 5K and 8K drew nearly 1,500 runners and walkers, many raising funds for a charity of their choice. In addition, nearly 1,000 children took part in in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Kids’ Run at Public Square on Saturday morning.

Chad Kunkle of Westlake, Ohio, claimed Saturday’s 5K in 18:18. In the women’s race, Angela Altier of Cleveland, won with a time of 19:58. For the 8K race, Robert Wade earned top honors at 25:26, while Laura Porta of Bedford, Pa., claimed the women’s title with a 32:09 finish.

The Challenge Series was created to provide opportunities for runners seeking additional miles during race weekend, allowing them to compete in one race on Saturday and one on Sunday. After earning those two medals, the 560 Challenge Series runners received a special third medal. The two-day challenge offered the following combinations:

  • 8K and full marathon (Total Distance 31.2 miles)
  • 8K and half marathon (Total Distance 18.1 miles)
  • 5K and 10K (Total Distance 9.3 miles)

The 2017 finish line area in Public Square, which featured live music, a beer garden sponsored by and offering Great Lakes Brewing Company beer, a Tito’s Vodka tent and retro trailer, food vendors, and sponsor and charity booths, pulled in thousands of family members and friends of runners through the end of the event, who dodged some bouts of rain after 10:00 a.m.

Official race results of all finishing participants are available on the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon website at by clicking on the “2017 Race Results” button.

Registration for the 2018 events will not be open immediately. The public will be notified via email and social media, as well as a posting on the website when registration is set to open. Information will be posted online at


About the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon
The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is in its 40th year of providing a fitness experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities. The event offers a Kids' Run, 5K, 8K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon - all of which participants can choose to run or walk. Nearly 440,000 runners have participated, generating more than $18 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, 8K and 5K events.

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