I have run the half marathon all five years and I'm already registered for #6 in 2019. I've always wanted to "streak" a race and this was my chance! It's also been great to watch the race evolve over the years. It's had some challenges with the construction going on at the Hall of Fame, but that should be mostly behind them as the stadium is now complete. In 2018, the expo was held at the county fairgrounds and that worked really well. Very easy to get to and lots of parking. They had a lot more vendors this year and I hope this continues to grow. This year, the start was also at the fairgrounds and the finish was at the Hall of Fame Football Stadium. There was some challenge shuttling people between the start and finish. This should be solved in 2019 as the start and finish will both be at the Stadium. They are also limiting the field for 2019, so it shouldn't be as crowded as in past years. They do plan to open the field back up in 2020 and the hope is that the NFL Draft will be in Canton the same weekend! That will be a weekend not to miss! The race does go through Canton. Canton is your normal mid-size midwestern town. Neighborhood streets aren't always that exciting to see, but there is a lot of support from the people in those neighborhoods! The course always goes through downtown Canton and the crowd support is especially high in this section. And the Drum Corps International (DCI) Canton Bluecoats are always represented on the course (usually downtown)! I haven't noticed any issues with aid stations. In fact, I've loved them! The course does go through a beautiful park and by the President McKinley monument - which is also beautiful. And it has a ton of stairs up to the top! Those are, fortunately, optional - although every year I see a lot of people tackling those stairs! After the monument, you wind your way back around to the museum and the stadium. In nearly every year that it's finished there, you run around the track then back up to the 50 yard line on the opposite side that you enter the stadium on. As a football fan, there is nothing better than a 50 Yard Line Finish! In 2018, the food was easy to find and plentiful. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the beer vendor (Canton Brewing Company) and they ran out of beer some time around 3 1/2 hours into the marathon. That left a lot of people that ran the full without beer. The RD was not happy and I don't think there will be a repeat of that mishap. The RD is very responsive and whenever issues have arisen, they have been quick to address them. The medals are different every year and always fun and unique! They also have a blanket. I love this blanket...I do have five of them! Some years the shirts turn out to be some of my favorite shirts, but there have been a few years where they weren't the best. And the last few years have had sponsored free photos! Score! Elevation is pretty easy, but this isn't Illinois, Iowa nor Kansas...there are hills. It's also Northeast Ohio. That means you need to keep an eye out for potholes. I know they try to get them all filled, but it's possible to miss some. The other thing about April in Northeast Ohio is that the weather can do literally ANYTHING. It can be freezing, cold, snowing, icy, rainy or even 90 degrees with a burning sun ahead! That's just Ohio. Do your diligence in training and weather stalking prior to the race and roll with it. Again, it's been great to watch this race evolve over the last 5 years and, God willing, I'm looking forward to the next 5!
Overall, a fine Mid-Size Marathon. Expo was surprisingly large; however I got there about 90 minutes before it closed and so some booths were already packed up. Race morning was chilly (31). Getting to the Stark Fairgrounds was a mess with traffic. Only one way in and seemingly miles of cars backed up waiting to get in. This needs to be improved upon, and is the only major issue I had with the whole day.Not enough entrants to warrant start corrales but it worked well because you just lined up with your pace time. Pyrotechnics as each pace team crossed the start, which was cool.I was in the 4:25 pace group and our Pacer was phenomenal. She was right on the money the whole race (I slowed down around mile 24). Crowd support was very sparse. Water stations plentiful and well-stocked. Volunteers were great as were the police. Course scenery is average; you run all through and around Canton. No offense to Canton. There was a really neat domed building up on a Hilltop we ran by; I think it had something to do with President William McKinley. Course had many, low-grade, not tall hills.Race finishes in the Hall of Fame Stadium which is so cool! Medals are super neat! Only problem was as I crossed the finish line, I saw water, but nothing else. I'm sure there were the standard bananas and bars, etc, but I sure didn't see them. Must've missed them.Bib has a free admission to the Hall of Fame, so I went from the finish straight into the Hall. Bit of a mistake because I got very light-headed and shaky and was too exhausted to do the Hall, but I found a cafe inside and had the best Rachel Sandwich ever!Again, overall it was a fine race. Don't cheap out like me and opt for the registration without a race shirt! They ran out by the time I got to the expo. I would recommend this race.
Nice smaller race. I went with the cheapie race entry which excluded the race shirt. I would do this race again. But do not expect a flat course. There are quite a bit of rollers. Also, a lot of relay teams and half marathoners. It can get quiet on the back half. They could use more volunteers to close the roads. I was a sub 4 at this marathon, and I still felt a little uneasy with the car traffic. I do believe for 2019, there is a course change. I am considering going back for 2020. My son loves their medals and asked when I was getting another one. Your race entry also includes a ticket to the HOF Museum.Registration: I opted for the cheapie race entry that was offered. I wasn't sure how the race would go, and I never really wear the race shirts. Registration was easy peasy. Expo: My friend picked up my bib for me so I can't comment here. Parking: The 2018 course was a point to point, starting at the fairgrounds and finishing at the stadium. You have to take a shuttle back to your car. Parking was easy enough, but I didn't like having to take a school bus back to the start. Start line: The start line had plenty of portapotties lined up. They allowed us to stay in the fairgrounds building, which was nice to stay warm. The start was a mass start. All of sudden they were talking and then we were off. Course: The first half of the course is great. Lots of crowd support and company the first half. It kind of drops off at the split and not as much to see. The volunteers at aid stations were very nice and always had water and gatorade. There were two aid stations that had gels. There are quite a bit of rollers, so this race is not for you if you are looking for a flat course. Finish line: The last mile was uphill against the wind. Thankfully you can see the stadium which kept me going. Running into the stadium was great. It was fun running on the turf. I loved the medal (my son took it) and the finishers blanket. I loved that way more than a space blanket and still use it. There was food at the end, although, I do think the half and the relayers took a lot of the food and drinks. Prepare for that. I was a sub 4 finisher, and thought it looked kind of sparse at the food station.
I ran this race in 2016 and came back for 2017.As a newer race it definitely had it's share of hiccups. For 2017 there was a special ran for a significantly discounted marathon price which is why I came back the second year. The marathon was well worth what I paid for it, however there are still a few kinks that race staff could work out.This marathon has started/finished around the Pro Football HoF, but due to construction the start was moved to downtown. I think a majority of the complaints this year were due to this race being moved to a new location and unforseen challenges that came with that. That being said, the marathon is moving back to the prior location for 2018, so likely the issues that happened in 2017 will fix themselves by the location change back to the Pro Football HoF for 2018.I enjoyed this course for 2017 better than 2016, as the course took out some hills and was overall much flatter. Also the course felt like it had much better crowd support this year which was a huge plus for me. There are some stretches on brick streets so be aware in advance. Nothing terrible though.Now for the negatives. This year parking was a huge issue. If you are considering it, buying the preferred parking pass for this race is well worth the extra price (carpool with other runners to bring down the cost!!). The parking selected for 2017 only had one entrance which caused backed up traffic several miles down the highway. I ended up parking on a side street all together and running a mile to the start instead of taking the shuttle. They ended up delaying the start of the race by 15 minutes because of the parking issues.Also, it was a bit hard to hear the announcements before the start of the race (national anthem, moments of silence, etc.) Turning up the volume on the speakers would have helped!
This could be a really great race but due to small areas of disorganization, this is not a race I would recommend. The Good: The race swag was great! I love the shirt (though they did run small) and the medal is really unique. Post race food was good and there was a lot of local support along the race course and at the finish line. The Bad: You had to pay to be taken to the starting line, the parking situation caused a mess of traffic because they only had one entrance open for thousands of runners to try and park in. They did not give clear instructions for the Expo location and many people went to the wrong place or were lost. There was an aid station on the course with no one there. The spectators nearby took manners into their own hands and started filling up the cups with water since it was a very hot day and water for runners was crucial! Add up all of the above and you come out with a disappointing racing experience. It's too bad because I think this could be a fantastic Ohio race if measures above are fixed!
This race has a lot of potential to be a great race in Northeast Ohio. Unfortunately, due to poor race organization between confusion of expo location, a late race start, unmanned water stations and a messy parking experience, this would not be a race I would highly recommend. If they can work out some of the kinks, this really can be a great race!
The 2017 Pro Football HOF Marathon installation of the event was run on April 30th, 2017. The event location and course was changed from last year's race. Temperatures were extremely hot and humid which made the running brutal.The race offered a huge deal on the marathon entry after the race last year. You could run the entire full marathon for ONLY $26.20. I am not sure if this was to increase participation, which in fact I believe it did, as the numbers increased from 2500+ to 7000+ for the entire races (5k, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, and Marathon Relay).The course was revamped last year to limit the turns and construction taking place on the HOF Stadium and was moved to downtown Canton. The elevation for the course seemed to be a lot more than I recall from last year. The route was basically starting and turning around at the finish line and rerunning the route you just came from. So you knew the rolling hills you just went through would be encountered again. For the most part the race was run through neighborhoods and the city of Canton. You did get to run by President McKinnley's memorial...twice.Aid Stations: I felt that with the heat and the humidity there should have been more aid stations out on the course. They had them spaced out every 2 miles, where on most marathon courses after the half you will have them every mile. They did have gels out on the course at two stops. Flavors were Vanilla Bean and Strawberry Banana. Expo Quality: The location of the expo was not definitively documented to which high school the expo was to be at. The parking was limited and a line extended out the front doors on Friday. The expo indoors consisted of about 20 vendors with race swag and various other running products for purchase. There were also a few race vendors there promoting upcoming races.Parking/Access: Parking as mentioned above could have been organized much better. There were two parking options offered, VIP - which provided close to race start/finish, and the second option being at the county fairgrounds. When I arrived at 5:45 and saw a line of cars extending back to the freeway I knew there would be a delay to the start. They had only one entrance open causing the back-up and each person had to pay $5.00 to take the shuttle to the start (2 miles). After finishing the race there was a line waiting for transport back to the county fairgrounds which took me 30 mins. Not something I was looking forward to after just running 26.2 miles. I felt last year's set up was much better.Swag: The swag was probably the best part of the race. The medals looked just like a football ticket that had the center piece that spun. Each finisher received a fleece blanket which on a hot day wasn't needed, but anytime it is cold can be pulled out. The shirt design was much better than last year, however the material was just okay. Each participant received free admission to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well.Finisher Party: Thumbs down on this, after finishing you received a banana, a bag of chips, a granola bar and a sports drink. Where was that cold refreshing beer or warm slice of pizza at the finish? Additionally there wasn't a localized area where the finishers could hang out.Overall I was disappointed with the race this year. I had high hopes coming in as last year the HOF Marathon was my first race ever. I know several things affected the overall intentions of the race organizers, with the construction around the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but at this time would not recommend this race.
The 2017 race was run on May 1. The temperatures at the start of the race were in the mid 50s and climbed up in the air and into the 80s by the time the back of the pack finished. Registration: I believe registration was done on active.com. If you are lucky like I was you could register for the race for $26.20. This option was offered early on the registration process and at some race expo is where the race was present. Expo: the expo was difficult to find. On the race website and all emails that we received the race expo was listed as being at a local high school. However a specific address was not given. We enter the high school into MapQuest and it took us to the wrong school. We went to One other school before finding the right school. Once you arrived at the high school finding a parking spot was difficult. There were no clear instructions on where to park and people were just park wherever they wanted to. It was a mess. We finally found street parking and we had to pay a dollar into the meter to park. Once inside the expo we were directed to packet pick up. Despite giving them our shirt sizes when we registered they asked for shirt sizes when we got there. Hopefully they did not run out of shirts for all the runners. Once we were done there we went inside the main expo in the gymnasium. There were about 20 to 30 vendors present. First stop was the official race merchandise. It was sad that you could buy a race shirt that was better than the race shirt that you got for free with your packet. Also at the expo Bill Rogers former Boston Marathon champion was present. However we arrive too late to see him. Race morning parking: do you have two options for parking on race day. You could pay extra and park close by and get VIP parking or you could park at the county fairgrounds for free. Once you park at the county fairgrounds though you had to pay five dollars per runner to take the shuttle bus to the start. The start was about 2 miles away. We had problems buying the right entrance to the fairgrounds however others had a lot more difficulty getting into the parking lots as race time approached. Runners were instructed to arrive early which most did but still had a lot of problems parking in time. The race started 15 minutes late because of this issue. Following the race we wait in the line for 45 minutes to an hour to get onto a shuttle bus to go back to our car. After the race they only had three shuttle buses running and not all of them we're going back to the parking lot. They were either going to the football Hall of Fame or to the relay exchange zones. Parking is something that the race needs to work on in the future. The race: One of the big positives about the race was that they were plenty of Porta potty's set up at the start area. The longest we had some weight was about 5 to 10 minutes. There was also gear check available right by the starting area. As mentioned earlier the race did start in 15 to 20 minutes late because of parking issues. This probably would not have been such a big deal if the weather wasn't going to get so warm. As mentioned earlier the race did start in 15 to 20 minutes late because of parking issues. This probably would not have been such a big deal if the weather wasn't going to get so warm. The Course: The website stated prior to the race that the course was going to be flatter than in years past. If this was flatter I would hate to see what it was like before. I am from northern Indiana and nothing in my area could've prepared me for the hills on the scores. Total elevation change was over 500 feet which for some may not be bad. The marathon course was basically the half marathon course. After you completed the first half marathon you turned around and did all again in reverse. There were a couple of great sites to see on the course but most of it was in rundown neighborhoods. It was nice to see, however, kids in these neighborhoods out cheering runners on. Aid stations: four as hot as it got there were not enough aid stations. The aid stations were about 2 miles apart. With how hot it got it they should have been 1 mile apart. Early on in the race there was one aid station that they were just setting up as we were running by. They did not have water or Gatorade ready. Plus some stations also did not have enough volunteers. There were also gels available at A couple of the aid stations. Swag: if there was a redeeming quality behind this race it was the swag. The race had a great finishers models that were shaped like a football ticket and had a spinner on the inside where the logo was. Also instead of a heat sheet blanket you got a nice fleece blanket at the finish. Had this been a colder day this blanket would've been much appreciated. I felt that the shirts could have been better however. I like the design of the shirts and the logo on the front but I did not like the 50-50 cotton and polyester style shirt.Post race: they really didn't seem to be much going on after the race. If you appreciate a cold beer after you finish you were out of luck. After you got your metal and blanket you could walk over to the food tent and get a banana there are some bags of chips and you could get a hotdog. there was no real post race atmosphere. Extras: each participant got a free entry into the Pro football Hall of Fame. However due to how long it took us to get to our car because of the shuttle buses we did not have time to go. The voucher was good all weekend long. I cannot recommend this race at this time. The course was not very scenic. Also I think the race organizers have a lot of work to do on their logistics.
Finally the day had come and I was about to run my first marathon. The build up, the training, and the early mornings were about to see the fruits of the labor. I had decided it was time to jump off the plank and sign up for my first marathon and what better at the Football Hall of Fame Marathon in Canton, Ohio. The Expo: The day before I headed down to the family with the Expo, which was held on the Freshman HS football field at Canton McKinely. It was a chilly day and a nasty rain storm hit just as we were rolling in. With this having been my first expo, I wasn't knowing what to expect. The event was held in a few tents with various vendors and trinkets to purchase for those running in the various races. Overall it was just a basic expo, now that I have had the opportunity to experience several others.The Race: The morning of, being the amateur I was, arrived at the off-sight parking at 4:45am for a 7am start time. Geez what was I thinking?!?! So we loaded up on the buses for the 10 min shuttle to the start of the race. As we disembarked off the buses I thought to myself, I am going to be cold for the next two hours. Just a quick note, they did offer parking right next to the start/finish line, however needed to be purchased and was limited in capacity. The start of the race was congested as we started off on a narrow side street, but soon thinned out by the time you hit the half mile marker. The first half of the race headed into downtown Canton, where along the way to my surprise saw several supporters out cheering us on. The aid stations were plentiful and offered Gatorade or Water and the occasional port-a-toilet. The route then turned back towards the breakoff point for the half-marathoners to finish on the freshman football stadium. (Note: Due to the HoF Football Stadium construction, the finish line was moved.) The second half of the marathon winded through city neighborhoods and was an out an back route. One thing I didn't notice at the time, but thought about it afterwards were the amount of turns we made going up and down neighborhood streets. Definitely caused me to lose my sense of direction a few times, as I was familiar of the area. One thing I did enjoy were how the mile markers were for each football team and kept me aware and looking for my favorite team, "Detroit Lions"! The overall course was not one that had a great deal of elevation changes. Swag: The swag was amazing and I loved that my first marathon finisher medal was from this race. The race shirt was of outstanding quality and at the finish line we received a finisher blanket.I would recommend this race to those as I know that the organizers have made great strides to making this race much better. They had some challenges in 2016 due to stadium construction and therefore had to modify the route and finish line. The 2017 installment will include a new location for the Expo, which will be larger, and a new route. The start/finish lines will now be in downtown Canton, versus next to the Hall of Fame.
This was my husband's first 5k and it was cold and a little hilly. It more than made up for it at the end when Dan Marino was there to high-five the finishers. The race medal is fantastic! However, there was no water on the course! There were a lot of first-timers and walkers there, specifically because of Dan Marino, and I really think water was a necessity.