Erie Runners Club at Presque Isle State Park
Erie Travel Blog› entry 2 of 7 › view all entries
My second half marathon was in Erie, Pennsylvania, which is a few hours drive from Cleveland. Since all my family is in Cleveland, I go there often and combined this marathon with the ending of one of my TravellingAuntie trips with a niece.
I had always wanted to see Presque Isle, which is a "National Natural Landmark" - a sandy peninsula that is Pennsylvania's only seashore - or lake shore - as it's on Lake Erie. Besides running through a gorgeous State Park, I figured it would be flat and easy running since it's a peninsula, with beautiful views of the water, beaches, boats, and kite flying. The State Park also provides safe habitat to a wide range of endangered, rare and threatened species of birds and is known as one of the best birdwatching destinations in the US.
So, a few days after we returned from Italy, my dad and I drove to Erie. I had tried to convince more family members, including nieces and a nephew to join, but Tom was the only one who agreed. It was his first half marathon and my second, so we were both novices. As always before a run, I spend the night locally since they usually start early in the morning. Who wants to drive from Cleveland to Erie at 3am when you could be sleeping? Luckily, area hotels usually provide group rates for marathon events and the entire community supports them - especially in a small town like Erie, which is under 300,000 people.
The Presque Isle State Park turned out to be as beautiful as I expected, and the course as flat.
The Park road was closed down for the runners, but the paths were still open for non-event roller blading, biking and other activities. I enjoyed seeing the park in action - we ran by kite flyers, picnics and other folks enjoying the day. The Club had set up the required water stops and the Park supplied the potty stops. Every few miles there would be a car with its stereo blasting - different members of the Runners Club chose these stops and each chose a different type of music so we heard country, rap, classical - you name it.
Tom & I did great, it was my fastest time ever and I credit his competitive spirit urging me on (even though he's got at least 20 years on me!) At the end of the race, again as with all races, there was a celebration - food, beer and camaraderie. They announced the winners for each gender and age group, but neither Tom nor I won, and despite it being my best time we still crossed over just before they took down the race clock and pulled up the finish line!
As this race was so close to home, the usual sightseeing before and after didn't really occur. There are two main attractions in the Erie area - Presque Isle State Park, which we became very closely acquainted with during our run, and a local wine trail - which, had we visited, may have made the drive home impossible. As it was, both Tom and I took brief naps before the drive back, exhausted from our exertion and the beer at the post-run party.
So, now I have another excuse to visit Presque Isle.