Kenyan man is the first of 20,000 runners to cross the finish line
CLEVELAND -- The 37th annual Rite Aid Marathon delivered several blockbuster moments including the fastest finish time in 13 years and a finish line proposal.
Kenyan, Philip Lagat completed the race with a time of 2:12:39 seconds, a personal best for Lagat. "I'm feeling great. I'm happy because this is my personal best," Lagat told Channel 3's Hilary Golston.
Among the 20,000 race participants was a woman completing her first half-marathon with a finish line proposal. Rachael Briggs was greeted by her now fiancé Sunday morning after completing the race.
"I couldn't believe it," Briggs told Golston. "I mean I was crying because I crossed the line, but I was really crying because he was there."
The race takes on a special meaning for Briggs. Decked out in pink, she braved the 13.1 mile course for members of her family who have struggled with or are still battling cancer. "I did this for my grandma who's in the hospital dying of cancer right now and my aunt who's in remission… my mom who's been in remission for 20 years and my mom's mom who died before I was born… of cancer as well," Briggs says.
This year, the race featured a start line in Cleveland's Public Square and a finish line outside the Cuyahoga County Courthouse on Lakeside.
Overall, race coordinators feel good about Sunday's turnout and race success including the potential economic impact. The race's executive director, Jack Staph, reports the last time marathon organizers conducted an economic impact study, the race brought in $18.2 million over the course of the 3 day weekend. "We sold out all the hotels three weeks ago, which is the earliest we've ever done that," Staph says.
The course was run mostly on the west side of the city.