Focus on a race

Glass City Marathon

24 Feb 2011 09:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux

Lois Berkowitz is a long time Toledo Roadrunners Club member and its newsletter editor; and Volunteer Coordinator for the Glass City Marathon. He is also a 50 States Marathon Club board member and founding member, #110 Marathon Maniac, a member of the 100 Marathon Club NA and the 50 States Marathon Club Newsletter editor. He is listed on the World Megamarathon Ranking of people who have over 300 marathons.

§staticmap(1347,5,450,250)Hello, on April 17th, you’ll be organizing the Glass City Marathon . Can you tell us where it is located?

In Toledo, Ohio. Toledo is in the northwest corner of Ohio. There is a local airport. You can also fly into Detroit, MI which is about 50 miles away.

This will be the 35th edition of the race. Why was it created in the first place?

The first Glass City Marathon was held in 1971. There were no marathons in the area at that time, and a loosely organized group of people decided to put one on. The first Glass City Marathon predates the Toledo Roadrunners Club organization by four to five years.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Scenic, beautiful. It starts and finishes at The University of Toledo campus in West Toledo. It heads west through attractive suburbs and along bike paths through the communities of Ottawa Hills and Sylvania, Ohio.

In Sylvania, a circle is made in Olander Park, where the statue of the original mega-marathoner, Sy Mah, is located. At this point, the course is headed back east toward the university campus. You will travel through more bike paths and suburbs to Wildwood Metropark, the original home of the Stranahan family (Champion Spark Plug).

From Wildwood, the course leads back to the university and ends in The University of Toledo Glass Bowl, on the football field. It is a very flat, fast course. The best description would probably be a loop course.

Credit : Glass City Marathon
How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

In all three races, the 5K, half marathon and marathon, we expect about 5,000 runners. Last year the half marathon sold out.

Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?

On Saturday there is a kids’ marathon, with several shorter distances for younger kids. This is a big day for the kids, with the U of T football players signing autographs and running with them. There are demonstrations by the Agility Angels, dogs specially trained to work with autistic kids. On Sunday morning, marathon day, there is a 5K race which begins at 7:15 a.m., 15 minutes after the half and full begin.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

This is the Midwestern United States, and it’s April! It could be anything. Usually, the weather would not be severe. Temperatures could range from 30 to 50°F (-1 to 10°C). There could be snow or rain, but it could also be dry and sunny. Last year the temperatures were perfect, and there was a slight drizzle toward the end of the marathon.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

There is a nice medium sized expo; the kids’ marathon on Saturday.

Credit : Glass City Marathon
The marathon finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Toledo before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

The Toledo Museum of Art is a “must-see.” There are more than 30,000 works of art representing American and European painting, the history of art in glass, ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian works, Asian and African art, medieval art, sculpture etc.

Be sure to visit the Glass Pavilion on the opposite side of the street. The glass exhibit is housed here and there are demonstrations of glass blowing. This is a free museum.Other suggestions include the Toledo Zoo, Imagination Station Toledo, and the Queen of the Most holy Rosary Cathedral. See our website for links.

As far as restaurants, Toledoans love to eat! If you are a fan of the television show MASH, you know that Klinger loved Tony Packo’s Hungarian Café. Get yourself a Hungarian hotdog at the original location on Front Street. For high end dining, try Mancy’s Italian Grill. See the link above for more information. There are many other choices, ethnic and otherwise, for all price levels. Ask us!

Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan and many cultural opportunities, is about 30 minutes northwest of Toledo; Detroit, Michigan and its many suburbs are around an hour North.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Glass City Marathon?

Our Race Director calls this race an undiscovered gem; a beautiful, suburban course with many wooded bike paths, in a friendly, easily traveled city.