Cleveland Marathon training helps runner build physical, mental strength

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Playing her flute in front a full house is nothing new for Leah Stevens.

The Cleveland Institute of Music major is a master on the stage, but when it comes to running, she's just getting started.

"I actually hated running my whole life, until last year. Suffering a lot of upper body injuries; I'm a flutist, so being like this hours and hours and just how physically taxing and mentally tasking that is. Running has been so healthy for me to combat those and be healthier overall," she said.

Stevens said running has been a life changer for her body and mind.

"I've had a history of depression on and off for a decade now and my mind is like crazy all the time. I feel like when I can just put my ear buds in and be on the road, go at my pace and take little accomplishments as they come, that's so healthy for me," she said.

After running a few 5Ks, Stevens decided to sign up for her first full marathon.

"I saw that the Cleveland Marathon is the day after I graduate from the Cleveland Institute of Music and I was like, wow, that sounds like a fun weekend, so I signed up," she said.

These days, Stevens is more motivated than ever because she's running for her grandma, who was recently diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer.

"She is the most strong, awesome woman ever and I feel like running a marathon is just a drop in the pond compared to what she's going through now," she said.

Stevens said her grandma is her biggest supporter, inspiring her when times get tough during the 26.2 mile trek.

The Cleveland Marathon is Sunday, May 20th. Cleveland 19 News will be airing the race beginning at 6:30 a.m. on WOIO. It'll also be on the Cleveland 19 News app for your smart phone, Roku or Fire TV.

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