Cleveland 10 Miler – Runners on Edge

Runners on Edge is a 1 on 1 shakeout run and chat at Edgewater Beach: featuring local runners leading up the 20th anniversary of the Cleveland 10-Miler.

First up, we have 5x finisher of the 10-Miler and advocate for the sport, Adam Gockowski.

Adam, give us a little background and what what got you into the Cleveland running scene.

I’ve always been a Northeast, Ohio kid – I grew up in Twinsburg, went to school at Kent State and ended up in Lakewood after college and I’ve been here ever since.

In 2012, I began running in honor and support of my buddy who experienced a life changing accident (good news is he’s still with us and is doing well) – and my very first race was the Cleveland Turkey Trot in Downtown Cleveland. 

I took a little bit of a gap within those years and on New Years Eve in 2016, I became an active runner. I signed up for at least one 5K every month ever since. The distance didn’t matter; I just wanted to be a part of the running scene. Fast forward to today, I am an ambassador for the sport – specifically the Cleveland Marathon in May.


What do you do for work/outside of running?

I’m in digital marketing and I do a little bit of everything when it comes to my clients and making sure their campaigns are up and live in addition to some traditional media. 

Outside of work, I am a pretty big Cleveland guy. I like seeing everything from our professional sports to the unique restaurants we offer and even more so the community events. Anywhere from Little Italy on the east side to Twins Days in Twinsburg – I just like being submersed in this community.


What do you like about running in Cleveland?

I think many Cleveland runners can say the same thing that I believe in when I say that we’re running on memories. 

What I mean by that is that these streets that we run on, are the same roads we have personal ties to – whether in the form of celebration, sorrow. Anything from tailgating to weddings, you know even the less fortunate memories like funerals or heartache of some sort. They all took place in this community.

So, the good, bad and ugly all led us to the person and runner that we are today and that’s the beauty in it. Whether it’s a race, for exercise or just running in general, that’s the motivation we all have. Some may not even know it – that it’s a home field advantage to a degree where you feel comfortable – you feel yourself and you feel like a true Clevelander and that’s a beautiful thing to me.


Give us your insight on the Cleveland 10-Miler.

If you quote me on one thing, let this be it: unless you are God or Goddard, you don’t know what the weather is going to be like on race day. 

In Cleveland, it’s a toss up. You could have a beautiful 65 degree morning or 15 degrees with a side wind and snow. 

Also, Lake Erie has a life of its own – the race is always going to have its challenges, but that’s a part of the journey. It’s one of those things that in real time, it may not be fun when you’re getting poured on, but the photos and aftermath are worth it. It definitely comes with it’s bragging rights.

The streets on the 10-Miler course are all very familiar, especially if you’re a Cleveland runner. Just a heads up though, when you’re near Mulberry’s after mile 5, there’s going to be an honest incline. If you’re prepared for it, you’re going to be fine – just like an algebra test in high school. 

Just know the first half is relatively flat and downhill – and the second half brings out the grit. 


Do you run with any groups in town?

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, I mostly run with Run With The Winners (great group) and we’re always at Pioneer in Ohio City weeknights and weekends rotate to different locations all around town. 

The first and second Wednesday of the month I run with Guardian Runners (those locations rotate) and third Wednesday with Fleet Feet’s monthly Pub Run (I haven’t missed one of those since 2018). The fourth Wednesday I actually lead the Run the Land group runs, so you’ll definitely catch me out on any given Wednesday.

There are so many great opportunities to connect with local run clubs and that’s not even half of them. Sleeping Weiner’s Running Crew and Cleveland West Road Runners are on my list – we just saw Sleeping Weiner’s run past us during this interview, so we know they’re getting their miles in.


Do you have any thoughts for the newbie runners based on your experience?

Because I’ve been saying this to a lot of newer runners, (especially this time of year with New Year’s Resolutions kicking in); the running community is extremely generous and selfish at the same time (in a good way). 

You see a lot of new runners appear to be self conscious as everyone is looking at them and in their heads, judging them – but the reality is, we’re too selfish worrying about our own times and how to improve ourselves that we don’t have time to be judging. 

But we do have the energy to support. And that’s very important for new runners to understand. 

If you join a run club or even an online group, you will see that exact motion take place. People are all about their own individual times and distances, while at the same time they’re clapping and supporting you throughout your journey. 

You know it’s hard and honest work and if it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it.

Adam, thank you for sharing your morning and insight with us as we build up to the 20th anniversary of the Cleveland 10-Miler Saturday, April 27 and best of luck on your training!