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CLEVELAND – (May 14, 2012) – With the tremendous growth in female participation in running and the 40th anniversary of Title IX, it’s only fitting that running legends Joan Benoit Samuelson and Anne Audain will be on hand for the 35th Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon this weekend.
“It’s a tremendous honor to have Joan and Anne join us this weekend,” said Jack Staph, Executive Director of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. “In 2003, women made up 38 percent of our participants and now less than 10 years later that number is closer to 60 percent. Successful role models like Joan and Anne have paved the way for millions of new female runners.”
Widely regarded as the top American women’s distance runner of all time, Benoit Samuelson won the first Olympic gold medal in the women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. The Maine native was a two-time winner of the Boston Marathon (1979 and 1983) and also earned the 1985 Chicago Marathon title.
Meanwhile, Audain is a seven-time winner of the Rite Aid Cleveland 10K, claiming her first title in 1982. The New Zealand native and Running USA board member finished 11th in the women’s 10,000 meters at the 1988 Olympics and has been honored as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Both are members of the Running USA Hall of Champions.
The pair is slated to speak multiple times at the Health & Fitness Expo presented by Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation, which is held Friday and Saturday (May 18-19) at the I-X Center located near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Benoit Samuelson will speak at 1:00pm both days, while Audain will talk Friday at 2:00pm and Saturday at 3:00pm. They will also give a joint talk Friday at 4:00pm.
Benoit Samuelson and Audain will serve as honorary starters for the Rite Aid Cleveland 5K presented by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) Saturday morning at 8:00am at Cleveland Browns Stadium, in addition to appearing at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Red Nose Children’s Run held at the stadium at 11:00am.
The Expo will be open Friday, May 18 from 11:00am – 7:00pm and from 10:00am – 6:00pm on Saturday, May 19. Free shuttle bus service will be offered to the Expo and back from the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, which is located at 420 East Superior Avenue. Parking will also be offered at the I-X Center at the special event rate of $8 per car. With nearly 200 vendors slated to participate, the Expo has something for everyone, including discounted running shoes, apparel and gear, and the opportunity to meet famous running legends and attend workshops.
All participants must attend the Health and Fitness Expo in order to pick up their bib, timing device, goody bag and t-shirt. Friends, family and the general public are welcome to attend. The Expo is free of charge to everyone.
The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon offers the following opportunities for people to participate in the event: full marathon, half-marathon, 10K, full marathon walking division, half-marathon walking division, 10K walking division, 5K (run or walk) and Kids’ Run. The events take place May 19 and 20, 2012. To learn more, visit:www.clevelandmarathon.com
To-date, the half-marathon has sold out, the full marathon has 63 spaces remaining and the 10K and 5K are close to reaching their respective caps as well. 18,300 people competed in the 2011 events over the course of the weekend. Organizers are expecting close to 20,000 participants for the 35th edition this weekend.
There are also opportunities for non-profit organizations to raise funds through their participation in the race through Cleveland Marathon Charities, for which information can also be found on the marathon’s website: www.clevelandmarathon.com
(c) 2012 RunningUSA, all rights reserved, used with permission