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Sarah Horbol Wins Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon

May 20, 2018

Westlake’s Sarah Horbol Wins Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Women’s Race

Daniel Mesfun’s first place finish in men’s race being contested by runners-up;

15,000 runners enjoy Marathon weekend experience


CLEVELAND (May 20, 2018) – There was no disputing 31-year-old Sarah Horbol’s breakthrough performance in the 2018 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.


“I have never gotten to run through the tape before, and doing it in my hometown was special,” Horbol said.


Horbol navigated the course in 2:51:41 in what she said was the biggest win in her running career. Anna Balouris (2:57:30) of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and Gladys Cheboi (2:58:25) of Kenya finished second and third in the women’s race. Horbol earned $3,000 for her win.


Daniel Mesfun of Eritrea took first place in the men’s race in 2:16:33. Kenyan runners Philemon Terer (2:16:55) and Abraham Chelanga (2:19:17) finished second and third. Executive Race Director Jack Staph called the men’s finish unofficial until the staff can consult on a rules interpretation from USA Track & Field.


“A few runners are contending Mesfun’s bib was not visible through the duration of the race, which they claim caused some confusion on the course,” Staph said. “We will make a determination and certify the results within a few days after we complete a thorough review.”


Approximately 15,000 runners participated in the 41st anniversary of the race, which started just outside the Quicken Loans Arena and finished on Public Square. Race weekend included the 1-mile, 5K, 8K, and kids race on Saturday, and 10K, half-marathon and marathon distances on Sunday. Walking divisions were offered in all race distances.


Additionally, seven participants took part in the hand crank wheelchair division. There was also a Challenge Series, which gave competitors an opportunity to compete in more than one race over the weekend.


“Race day is an exhilarating way to celebrate our wonderful city,” Staph said. “We started this race 41 years ago to bring a meaningful health and fitness event to Cleveland, and it’s grown to become a tradition for the tens of thousands of runners, volunteers and spectators who participate. We’re both proud and honored to bring this race event to the city.”


In addition to the Quicken Loans Arena, the runners’ tour of Cleveland included passing by landmarks and popular neighborhoods such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, FirstEnergy Stadium, Great Lakes Science Center, Tremont and Ohio City, West Side Market, Playhouse Square, Edgewater Park and Public Square.


Beyond the weekend’s races, tens of thousands of racers and health and fitness enthusiasts visited the Health & Fitness Expo at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland on Friday and Saturday. The weekend’s activities resulted in an approximate $18 million economic impact for the city.


Kenyan Linus Kiplagat won the men’s 10K with a time of 29:04. Countrymen Isaac Mukundi (29:23) and Dominic Korir (29:25) rounded out the top three. On the women’s side, Josephine Wanjiku of Kenya finished first in 36:22, followed by Jessica Odorcie (36:37) of Perry, Ohio, and Melly Watcke (37:06) of New Bremen, Ohio. Kiplagat and Wanjiku earned $2,000 each for their victories.


Clevelander Ken Sullivan repeated as men’s half marathon champion, finishing in 1:12:53, besting Seth Kurzen (1:15:35) from Massillon and Jeffrey Wunning (1:16:06) from Wooster. Pittsburgh’s Jennifer Bigham won the women’s half marathon in 1:21:23. Anna Balouris (2:57:30) of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and Gladys Cheboi (2:58:25) of Kenya finished second and third.


Sunday’s events also included the annual We Run This City Youth Marathon program, which had 600 school-aged participants from Cleveland Municipal School District. Most of the kids ran the final 1.2 miles of their 26.2-mile training that occurred throughout the spring. Other students opted for longer events at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, with 227 students registered for the 10K or half marathon races. The youth health and fitness program has won national awards and produced thousands of youth runners in Cleveland.


Steven Benesh of North Ridgeville won Saturday’s 5K in 16:50. In the women’s race, Marissa Ward of Tiffin took first in 19:51. For the 8K race, Evan Fallor of Arlington, Va., won in 26:05, while Shelly Weisman of Solon won the women’s race in 32:55.


The Challenge Series was created to provide opportunities for runners seeking additional miles during race weekend, allowing them to compete in one race on Saturday and one on Sunday. After earning those two medals, the 560 Challenge Series runners received a special third medal. The two-day challenge offered the following combinations:

  • ·        8K and full marathon (Total Distance 31.2 miles)
  • ·        8K and half marathon (Total Distance 18.1 miles)
  • ·        5K and 10K (Total Distance 9.3 miles)


The 2018 finish line area in Public Square, which featured live music, a beer garden sponsored by and offering Great Lakes Brewing Company beer, a Tito’s Vodka tent and retro trailer, food vendors, and sponsor and charity booths, pulled in thousands of family members and friends of runners through the end of the event.


Official race results of all finishing participants are available on the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon website at by clicking on the “2018 Race Results” button.


Registration for the 2019 events will not be open immediately. The public will be notified via email and social media, as well as a posting on the website when registration is set to open. Information will be posted online at


About the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon
The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is in its 41
st year of providing a fitness experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities. The event offers a Kids' Run, 1-Mile, 5K, 8K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon - all of which participants can choose to run or walk. Nearly 450,000 runners have participated, generating more than $18 million annually to benefit the Cleveland community.


Mission Statement:
• To provide a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities. • To produce an event that highlights the Cleveland community and provides a positive economic impact for the community. • To give charities an opportunity to benefit financially from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 8K, 5K and 1-Mile events.