Tom Falvey lofts the flag as runners, at the University of Toledo, await the start of the 5K race. The competitors met winds that gusted to 30 miles an hour.
For most of the 13.1 miles Bridget Rumer ran Sunday, she enjoyed the neighborhoods of Ottawa Hills and the scenery of Wildwood Metropark — but that was before she hit the wind.
“The wind was awful,” she said, noting that it slammed her back for the final mile of the race until she neared the finish line inside the University of Toledo’s Glass Bowl where it hit her head on. “It was like just hitting a wall.”
Despite winds that gusted to more than 30 miles an hour, thousands of participants laced up their running shoes for a long, cold run as part of the 35th Annual Glass City Marathon. For a second year, the annual race began at the university, and runners took to the starting line at 7 a.m.
Most of the 13.1-mile half-marathon brought runners through Ottawa Hills and into Wildwood. The 26.2-mile course traversed Old Orchard, Ottawa Hills, the University/Parks Trail, Olander Park in Sylvania, and Wildwood Metropark before culminating at midfield in the Glass Bowl.
For Ms. Rumer, 28, of Perrysburg the medal around her neck showing she finished was a celebration in itself.
“For me, I did 12 weeks of training, and this is the final end to all the work you put in,” she said, adding that she had just returned to the Toledo area after living away for a decade and wanted to embrace her home.
Just minutes after running for about two hours in 40-degree weather, she hesitated when asked if she’d do it again.
“Just kidding, I will,” she said.
Organizers said 4,501 runners were signed up for the event. Of those, 1,000 participated in the 5K run, 1,981 ran the half-marathon, and 793 ran the full 26.2 miles. Other runners participated in relay teams.
According to the marathon Web site, proceeds from registration fees help contribute to several area charities including the Great Lakes Autism, Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and youth running scholarships
Steve Kaczor, a member of the marathon committee in charge of registration and the finishing line, said the participation numbers have grown from last year. And although he was thankful there was no rain, the biting winds wreaked havoc on the finishing line arch.
“We’ve had wind gusts up to 40 mph,” he said as he and other volunteers struggled to keep the arch and the timers from crashing to the ground. “I wish we didn’t have this wind.”
The first to cross the finish line in the full marathon was R. P. White, 24, of Ypsilanti, Mich., who clocked in at 2:27:48. The top female runner was Shanna Ailes Istnick, 32, of Kent, Ohio, who crossed the finish line with a time of 2:59:13.
Julius Kiptoo, 33, of Toledo, was the first to finish in the half-marathon with a time of 1:05:49. Just minutes behind was the top female runner, Jennifer Bigham, 29, of Rochester, NY, with a time of 1:18:34.
With tears in her eyes from the biting wind, a bundled-up Judith Lonsway waited alongside the trail at about the 12-mile marker for her husband, John.
Mrs. Lonsway, 66, said she had competed in the 5K run earlier — and won her age class — and now waited to see her husband to the finish line.
Residents of Fenton, Mich., Mrs. Lonsway said the couple have done “quite a few” races but this year’s race seemed a bit more challenging since they had only just recently returned from their winter home in Texas.
Richard Biggins of Toledo crosses the line first among the wheel-chair competitors in the Glass City Marathon.
“It was 80 degrees there,” she said. “What was I thinking? My body isn’t used to running in this cold weather.”
Edward Hassing sat on the 35-yard line on the Rockets’ football field, stretching and admittedly resting, after finishing the half-marathon in about 2 hours and 15 minutes, the third half-marathon he completed this year.
The 30-year-old Parma Heights, Ohio, resident said he’s working his way up to completing the Cleveland Marathon near his hometown on May 15.
“I honestly hate running. I’ve always hated it,” he said. “I started to get into shape, but it’s addicting. The feeling you have afterwards is as if you’ve accomplished so much.”
Organizers have moved the marathon from a start and finish line from downtown Toledo, saying costs of police protection were getting difficult to maintain.
This course seemed to be a hit with runners.
Mr. Hassing said he enjoyed the course through the suburbs because “it’s always good to have something to look at.”
As for the wind, while it was helpful when it was at his back, other times “it was downright annoying,” he said.
Race results are available at www.glasscitymarathon.org.
Contact Erica Blake at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.