Joe Niemiec crossed the finish line in the Glass Bowl on Sunday and started screaming, releasing the adrenaline that came from finishing a half marathon faster than he ever had before. He shaved 5 minutes off his previous fastest time, finishing fourth in the Owens Corning Half Marathon.
“I don’t get excited that much and just seeing that big of a [personal record], I just couldn’t keep it in,” Mr. Niemiec, 26, of Jackson, Mich., said.
He was one of more than 9,000 runners to start a race over Saturday and Sunday at the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon, though Mr. Niemiec’s chances of starting the race looked shaky in the last week. He pulled his hamstring late in training and battled some sort of stomach bug through the night.
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He credited God for getting him through the race and was running to continue his Olympic dreams. He needs to run a 2:13 marathon to make it to the marathon trials, and his 1:06 half marathon was a good start.
“It doesn’t stop after college. You can still chase dreams,” he said. “It’s not good enough to go to the trials, but it’s trending down.”
Racers came to the race for all sorts of reasons. Elite athletes such as Mr. Niemiec came looking for a flat, fast course to set personal records. Some, like Karil Morrissey, 60, of Toledo, run for the challenge of getting better and training with other people.
“What’s fun is running with a lot of the people that I train with for the past 16 weeks and challenging yourself to do something different and better every time,” she said. “I just wanted to do better than last year, and I did.”
She was enjoying a refreshing post-race beer, along with most of the racers who wandered over from the Glass Bowl finish line toward the beer and food available after the race.
It’s too soon to say with certainty if this year’s event, the largest in the marathon’s 42-run history, went off perfectly, but executive committee member Todd Germana said things had gone well.
“So far, perfect weather, good conditions, good crowd,” he said.
Spectators lined parts of the course, especially at the finish chute within the football stadium. As the day progressed, finished runners added to the crowds, shouting encouragement and ringing bells as others finished. Watching the race can give spectators much of the energy and emotion that comes from the race, said Jasmin Niemiec, Mr. Niemiec’s wife.
“To see it come together for him, it’s the most beautiful thing. I feel all the joy, the pain. It’s the best feeling in the world,” she said.
Aaron Cooper of Camlachie, Canada, won the marathon, setting a new course record of 2:20:58. Maura Lemon of Dayton ran the fastest time as a female, setting a course record at 2:45:37.
The Blade sent three reporters and two photographers to Sunday’s marathon. Take a look at the good, the bad, and the downright goofy from the race below:
Some Sunday morning motivation. Cheering the runners in the Glass City Marathon. Great day for a run. Good luck to all! #glasscitymarathon #gcm #mararthon #toledoroadrunners #davesrunning #seniordog #chariot #toledometroparks #toledo #toledoohio #mymetroparks #runglasscity #running #labradorretriever #lab #labrador #chocolatelab @kdibbs2
Last year I ran the Glass City Half-Marathon to put a smile on a student’s face that was fighting a greater battle. Tomorrow I run in honor of her inspirational legacy. #Hopepic.twitter.com/VbQvQNQjhw— Matt Horen (@Matt_Horen) April 22, 2018
I'll take a wave, and a ride back to my car please!! https://t.co/srE4LwFLHI— Chief George Kral (@gkraltoledo) April 22, 2018
We are currently experiencing an issue with the Glass City Marathon and working to resolve it.— TriPerta (@TriPerta) April 22, 2018
...AND THE JUST PLAIN GOOFY
A good sign from the Glass City finishline. pic.twitter.com/mFrymuf1ac— Zack Lemon (@zack_lemon) April 22, 2018
I didn’t realize how much gets discarded at the start of a marathon. pic.twitter.com/WSXfQG7RFg— Zack Lemon (@zack_lemon) April 22, 2018