Eighteen years ago I got into this “runner craze” that was taking over. I shouldn’t say it was taking over because in actuality I was probably in the minority choosing running as my sport instead of football or baseball or basketball. I like to say that running was only for the cool kids back then. I mean, I run and how cool am I? I had one famous runner to look up to (Steve Prefontaine) instead of having to worry about remembering all of those other big sport athletes’ names like Michael Bird of the Boston Bulls or Brett Montana of the famous Green Bay 49ers.
As I grew older and got out of school, I noticed that all of the people who used to make fun of us cool runner kids were actually starting to run themselves (I was definitely ahead of my time with this sport and knew it would take off one day). Guys who used to play football were now running 30 or 40 miles a week. Lazy people from my school are now running in the same road races as I do! It got me thinking…what if there was a race that was not only competitive, but also enjoyable for all of those former football, baseball and basketball players who have now taken up running? A race where Joe Fan and Lazy Larry could get a workout in, while at the same time experience something that not many people get to experience (and I’m not talking about Runner’s Nirvana).
My quest to create such a race came full circle on July 15, 2012 when Cleveland Indians Charities, Cleveland Browns Foundation and the Cavaliers Youth Fund joined forces for the first time ever and put on the Inaugural FANtastic 4-Miler! The race, presented by the Cleveland Clinic Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute, took runners into Cleveland Browns Stadium and around the football field, into the “Q” Arena across the Cavs court area and finished on the warning track of Progressive Field. All proceeds were split between the three sports teams’ charitable foundations.
The race sold out at 1,000 runners. We saw the overall male and female runners finish in 20:41 (Mike Capriolo) and 23:22 (Kelly Green). The overall winners received an experience package from each team and the top 3 winners in each age group received either a pair of Indians, Browns or Cavs tickets.
The race drew the likes of former Indians pitcher and Sports Time Ohio pregame host, Jason Stanford, and his fellow STO co-workers Dave Chudowsky and Katie Witham. All three competed in the race, while Browns alumni Reggie Langhorne and Cavs alumni Campy Russell cheered on the runners from the sidelines.
Of course, for the non-runners out there, the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital stepped up and sponsored a post-race family walk around the warning track. It was a nice way for the runners and their families to cool down, burn some calories and share their race stories while walking around Progressive Field!
Congratulations to all the participated and thank you to all of the sponsors who helped make this race a success!