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Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

Running Strong for 42 Years

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is one of the 50 oldest marathons in the United States and began as an effort to bring a positive and meaningful fitness event to the City of Cleveland, which was suffering economically at the time. More than 350,000 runners have participated in the race since its inception in 1978.

The original course began at Cleveland State University and traveled west to Bay Village, a suburb approximately 14 miles west of Cleveland, and back. The race now weaves through many of Cleveland’s iconic and ethnic neighborhoods and gives runners from all over the country a chance to experience the city’s diverse fabric.

Runners also pass some of Cleveland’s best-known landmarks, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Playhouse Square, FirstEnergy Stadium, Progressive Field, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and more.

For 42 years, the marathon has been living its mission: 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, and to give charities an opportunity to benefit financially from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 8K and 5K.

According to an economic impact study by Pittsburgh-based Forward Analytics, during a single race weekend the race generated $18.25 million toward the City of Cleveland’s economy. The Cleveland Marathon also has a long-standing commitment to helping local charitable organizations and has donated well over $3 million to Cleveland-area charities since its beginning. Cleveland Marathon Charities, a 501(c)(3), was formed in 2007 to organize and financially reward school, church and other non-profit groups that show support of health and fitness through running by their active involvement in the marathon as participants, volunteers or spectators in the marathon.

“The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is a true gem in the City of Cleveland and has given back to the community in so many ways,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, an organization that attracts, creates, manages and enhances significant sporting and competitive events in the region. “The Cleveland Marathon leadership has built a much sought-after event that draws people from all over the country to Cleveland each year.”

The race’s most significant growth has occurred under the Rite Aid Pharmacy sponsorship, which began in 2003. Since that time, race participation has grown 300 percent. The marathon’s partnership with Rite Aid is truly unique in its longevity and has been a positive force in shaping the race into what it is today.

This year’s marathon will feature a more streamlined race schedule, including the half and full marathons, a 5K and 10K, Kids’ Run and Health and Fitness Expo.

The marathon is offering four new Challenge Series levels in 2020, providing new options for runners and walkers who wish to challenge themselves with two events over a two-day period. The Challenge Series offers four event combinations and levels of difficulty: 10K and Full Marathon, 10K and Half Marathon, 5K and Full Marathon, and 5K and Half Marathon.

Additionally, for the first time, runners can be eligible for the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Wanda Age Group World Championships in 2021. The Cleveland Marathon has been chosen as a qualifying event partner of AbbottWMM, which is a series of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world – Tokyo Marathon, B.A.A. Boston Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW Berlin-Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon.

“Global Cleveland is thrilled that the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon will once again welcome runners from all over the US and the world,” said Joe Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland. “Our city embraces visitors from Kenya to Akron, from Denmark to Downtown Cleveland. This Marathon embodies the best of all of us: determination, endurance, and the reality that we are one community on this planet. We are so happy you are here.”

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Fast Facts:

  • First race to offer finishing runners large cash prizes – the first cash prize in 1988 was $150,000 total for the 10K and marathon winners (male & female)
  • First to invite elite runners from the Soviet Union to the marathon during the Cold War
  • First to incorporate a 10K race into the marathon events in 1978
  • Voted one of the top 15 spring marathons by in 2016
  • Ranked in the top 13 fastest marathons in the U.S. by in 2016
  • Average mile pace for the marathon winner is 5:13
  • 10K World Record was set in 1996 by Joseph Kimani of Kenya at the 19th annual Revco/Cleveland Marathon and 10K Run

For more information about the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, please visit

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

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