Generally speaking, in order to #RunAllTheRaces, we have to spend a fair amount of time coordinating schedules, planning travel, and making reservations to ensure we both get to the same place at the same time. Occasionally though, the stars seem to align and we get the chance to run a race together that we just normally wouldn’t think could happen.
The 2014 Inaugural Cedar Point Run & Run Weekend was just one of those races. Kimberly and her family had a relative’s wedding in Ohio and Perfectly Goofy Gail had parents that live in Ohio and were begging for a visit – and BOTH events just happened to be scheduled around a race weekend. Talk about a cosmic alignment!
We even managed to cajole everyone into participating in the weekend’s fun. Kimberly, her 2 kids, and Gail ran the Millennium Force 5K on Saturday and Kimberly and Gail ran the Half Marathon on Sunday – while Gail’s parents volunteered at the Mile 5/12 water stop. Kimberly’s husband Jack assisted by volunteering to #RideAllTheRollerCoasters – what a team player 😉
Packet pick-up was held outside the theme park at one of Cedar Point’s hotels, Castaway Bay. This was a local race, so it was billed simply as Packet Pick-Up, and it was exactly as advertised. It was not a full scale race expo but we didn’t mind.
As part of the entrance fee for the Half Marathon each runner received entry into Cedar Point after 4:00 pm on Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday – and we were all about #RideAllTheRollerCoasters. Additionally, runners received a discounted parking rate of $15.00 for Friday – Sunday (instead of $15.00 a day). So for $105.00, you got entry into the half marathon, entry into Cedar Point theme park after 4:00 pm on Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday, and 3 days of parking.
For those that were running the 5K or coming to the race to cheer on family and friends, a discount was in place that allowed purchase of theme park tickets: $55.00 for after 4:00 pm on Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday or $33.00 a day. This was a steal, as standard admission to Cedar Point runs $50.00 a day, or $25.00 a day after 5:00 pm.
Cedar Point, know as America’s Roller Coast, is located in Sandusky, Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. Opened in 1870, it is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States.
Cedar Point has 16 roller coasters – which is the second-most in the world – 16 thrill rides, 10 family rides, and 3 water rides, excluding the rides in Soak City (a separate water park located just outside Cedar Point).
The park has reached several milestones. It is the only amusement park in the world with four roller coasters taller than 200 feet (61 m) – Magnum XL-200, Millennium Force, Wicked Twister, and Top Thrill Dragster – and is the only park with roller coasters in all four height classifications. Cedar Point has also received the Golden Ticket Award for “Best Amusement Park in the World” from Amusement Today for 16 consecutive years. As of 2013, the park is the most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States with an estimated 3.38 million visitors in 2013. The park also has several buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In other words, Cedar Point kicks some serious roller coaster butt!
Over the course of the weekend, we managed to get in both the Millennium Force 5K and the Half Marathon as well as all the great roller coasters in the park.
Saturday: Millennium Force 5K
Saturday morning came early and Kimberly and Perfectly Goofy Gail managed to drag the Markey kids out of bed, into their running gear, and to the start of the 5K.
The ENTIRE 3.1 miles of the 5K course was in and around Cedar Point. What a way to run a race – surrounded by roller coasters. While the rides were not open to jump on, many of them were running. There’s something awesome about hearing that roller coaster “swoosh” as you go running by!
On course, there were PLENTY of water stops staffed by enthusiastic volunteers that really seemed happy to be there. We finished the course right outside the main gate, next to the shore of Lake Erie – which gave us a lovely breeze.
As part of the 5K, all participants received a race-specific T-shirt. Rubber medallions were given to all the younger finishers.
Sunday: Cedar Point Half Marathon
Sunday morning, Kimberly, Gail, and Gail’s parents all jumped in the car and headed to the race start a bit early, as we needed to drop off Gail’s parents at the Mile 5/12 water stop and then make it to the start line with time for a pre-race potty stop.
About 700 runners started the Half Marathon on the banks of Lake Erie. This was very much a local race that just happened to be held at a theme park.
We began with a loop around the parking lot before heading into Cedar Point. The first 5 miles covered most of the 5K course (with some additional loops to add distance) before heading across the Cedar Point Causeway into downtown Sandusky, once again along the banks of Lake Erie.
Halfway across the Cedar Point Causeway was Mile 5 and our first chance to say “HI!” to Gail’s parents. They got a great location – in part because we would double-back and get to see them twice, but also because they were on the causeway and got an amazing breeze. The day was WAY hot and humid and the causeway offered the best breeze of the ENTIRE course.
Miles 5 – 12 of the course went into downtown Sandusky in a loop back towards the Cedar Point Causeway and the theme park. As the race started about 10 minutes late at 6:55 am, it got hot FAST and the miles outside the theme park (and away from the distraction of the roller coasters and breeze of the causeway) got sticky really quickly.
Mile 13 gave us our final chance to get a personalized “Way to go!” from Gail’s parents before finishing the final trip across the causeway and crossing the finish line with a view of the Cedar Point area marina.
All Half Marathon participants received a long-sleeved race-specific tech shirt and an medal with an AWESOME ribbon, as well as two 13.1 race magnets. Wasn’t really sure about a long-sleeved shirt in July but, if you’re from somewhere where it gets cold and snowy in the winter, wearing the Cedar Point Run & Ride Half Marathon shirt while training in the yuck would definitely get you jazzed up about the return of summer and the opening of Cedar Point.
All in all, this was great inaugural race and we’re pretty excited about what’s in store for next year and the other Run & Ride races that are held at King’s Island and Carowinds. After all, #RunAllTheRaces and #RideAllTheRollerCoasters!
UP NEXT: An interview with the Run & Ride Race Directors on the race and their future plans and input from Gail’s parents on their volunteer experience.
Are you a roller coaster person? Have you been to Cedar Point?
Perfect Goofy Gail & (soon to be Delightful Dopey) Kimberly