This weekend, I saw the Cleveland Marathon from the sidelines, with the crowds cheering their hearts out for the runners they know and even those they don’t. While the runner in me was kicking myself for not running this year, I enjoyed seeing this different perspective. And it is fun, heading from spot to spot to support the runners.
Something else I noticed upset me. When the wife and I are searching for a cup of coffee at 7:30 on the cool morning, why did it turn into a mission? In other words, why weren’t the businesses taking advantage of the crowd?
It took us passing three or four closed places before getting to Erie Island and waiting the ten minutes with other marathon watchers until it opened at 8. During that walk, we noticed storefront after storefront closed. The one place that was open, For Goodness Jake’s, was packed with spectators looking for breakfast or a quick cup.
Yes, it was a Sunday morning and yes, it was at an hour where only the slightly insane venture out on a weekend. I’m sure it isn’t profitable for everyone. But the places we walked past, on E 9th where runners and watchers walked toward the start, in Public Square where watchers went to catch the Rapid to follow their friends/family, these were places seeing heavy foot traffic.
Think of this, too…those watchers who choose to stay near the start/finish, they have time to kill in between. Even for the 10K, the shortest race of the day, the middle of the pack will be running for forty-five minutes to an hour. Longer for half-marathoners or marathoners. If these people wanted to see the start, head to Public Square and linger for a bit before seeing the finish, they had very few places to choose from. Missed opportunity.