Last year, as the Cleveland marathon opened discussions with potential title sponsors, the race’s organizers had a handful of qualities they believed would make for a “perfect” partner.

The marathon, which had been tied to CVS and Rite Aid over a span of two-plus decades, was hoping to align with a local company. In Union Home Mortgage, a rapidly growing Strongsville company, it found “a natural fit,” said Jack Staph, the marathon’s executive director and owner.

On Feb. 9, the marathon announced that Union Home Mortgage was its new title sponsor. The three-year deal was “comparable and better” to the previous agreement with Rite Aid, Staph said.

The deal is a crucial one for the marathon, which is in its 44th year and is

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