Half Marathon Finisher.
When I began my training for the Akron Half Marathon, I wasn’t really sure that my name would be next to those words in less than seven months. After last week, it is.
About a week before race day I thought the run would be a great one. I came off my final 10-mile training run feeling good and running faster than I had been all summer. But then I started feeling pain in my right foot that wouldn’t go away.
Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen told me it was likely a result of tying my shoes too tight. I loosened my laces, but the pain persisted. I was able to get through my short training runs all week, though, so I figured that I could at least get through the 13.1 miles with some extra walking.
As it turned out, it wasn’t that big of an issue. It was smooth sailing as Brian, Akron Marathon Social Media Manager Lauren Toole, and I took off down High Street and over the Y Bridge into North Hill. It wasn’t until we were heading back toward Downtown on Gorge and Glenwood that I noticed that I had an issue. By the time we reached the halfway mark, it was bad enough that I needed to add more walking than I had hoped.
I can’t really explain what happened over the next few miles. As we made our way down Brown St. for miles 7 and 8 the pain went away and I was able to run faster. Miles 9 and 10 were some of the fastest we ran all day.
After mile 10, I was in uncharted territory. I had never run more than 10 miles in one workout. I’m used to my workouts going up in distance every week so I figured it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it could be. But after 10 quick (for me) miles, I hit a wall. I knew I would be able to finish, but I also knew the final three miles would be ugly.
As we went through that last trip through Downtown Akron, I couldn’t help but think back.
To when I used to look skeptically upon runners.
To when I agreed to announce the Gay Games Marathon back in 2014, the first race I ever announced and the event that introduced me to the amazing people of the Akron Marathon.
To when I was asked to be the voice of the new Akron Marathon Race Series events in 2015.
To all those times when George McFly from 94.9 WQMX would needle me about how I should become a runner.
To last August, when I told Brian over beers that I would train for the race series.
To February, when I was winded after a 1 mile walk.
To all those mornings running around the neighborhood.
To all those Saturdays with the Blue Line Beginners.
We broke the tape (actually it was a roll of beer tickets) in 2:36:18, much faster than I expected. It was awesome to see my family there along with the Marathon staff and even some members of the Blue Line Beginners who stopped by. It wasn’t long after we left our post-race meal at Akron Family Restaurant that I started thinking about what race is next. And there will definitely be a next race!
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to repay the people who helped me along this journey: The Akron Marathon staff for setting all of this up; Brian Polen, Lauren Toole, and George McFly for running races with me (and congrats to Lauren on running her first half marathon!); The Blue Line Beginners for keeping me going on those long Saturday runs; Vertical Runner of Wooster for making sure I had the right gear; the team at 1590 WAKR for letting me do this; the Lake County Captains for putting up with me when I couldn't do normal on-field host things; and each and every one of you who has offered a word of encouragement along the way.
If you ran the Blue Line, it was awesome seeing you at the finish line. If you didn’t, don’t think for one second you can’t. It takes hard work, dedication, and some free time, but you can absolutely be an Akron Marathon Race Series finisher. Who knows, it may just change your life. It certainly changed mine.
An estimated 115,000 spectators got up early Saturday, gathering along the Blue Line for the 16th running of the Akron Marathon.
Two male runners from Akron placed first and second among the men; Israel Merkle finished first in two hours and 26 minutes, while Dylan Garritano finished second.
Grace McCarron of Mansfield finished first among the women, at 2 hours, 51 minutes, while her sister Emma, who won last year, came in fourth in this year's half marathon.
With 10,000 runners participating, the Marathon was a sellout, which Brian Polen with the Marathon says only means good things for the 2019 event.
See more, including full results at AkronMarathon.org.
“You can’t change the weather. You can change your attitude.”
I found myself repeating that phrase over and over again Monday as I ran the Goodyear 10K course.
Over the last six months, the vast majority of my runs have either been in cool weather or in the shade. Monday, it was in the mid 70s and high humidity. Not exactly the ideal running conditions. But there’s nothing you can do about the weather, and it was pretty similar to the weather for some of the previous August races in the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. So I got ready to run my first ever 10K in what felt like a swamp.
You could argue the weather was payback for June. Because I’m the Akron Marathon’s race announcer, I have to run my races on different days. This paid off at the National Interstate 8K as it was significantly cooler and more overcast for my run than the actual run. No such luck this time around.
To be honest, I was just happy that I made it to the start line. Right after I ran the 8K, I developed some pretty severe pain in my foot that knocked me out of commission for several weeks. I tried foam rolling, exercises, ice, and rest, but nothing seemed to make the pain stay away while I was running. It took changing from the support shoes I usually wear to more neutral shoes for the pain to finally go away.
The sticky weather wasn’t the only thing different about this run. Because the Goodyear Proving Grounds weren’t available for the Blue Line Beginners test run a few weeks ago, I ran the first mile of the actual course for the first time on race day. The proving grounds portion of the course resembles a NASCAR track. It’s fast and flat, so it’s a great way to start a race. It was great seeing several members of the Blue Line Beginners waiting for us when we exited the proving ground and headed for the street (sidewalk in my case) portion of the course.
I was hoping to match my pace from the 8K in the 10K, but I figured by the time we left the proving grounds that wasn’t going to happen. My running pace was slower than it was in June and I needed a walk break by the 1.5 mile mark, a bit earlier than I was anticipating. I was lucky to have Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen and Social Media Manager Lauren Toole running with me to keep me going.
The course itself helps too. It’s a fairly fast course that gives you a good tour of Goodyear’s facilities and the new East End development on E. Market St. before running uphill toward Akron Executive Airport. You get a good look at the Air Dock before the half marathon course heads for Ellet and the 10K course turns back toward the finish.
The Last Mile
After the turnaround, the course heads downhill for most of the last mile. Still, I was spent. I had also developed a blister on my foot. I knew I could still put in a decent result, though, so I pressed on.
As we entered the final half mile, Brian reminded me how far I’d come in the last five months and how few people actually finish a 10K. It was exactly what I needed to finish strong. I crossed the line in 1:11:48, only 13 seconds per mile slower than the 8K. I was happy with the result given the humid conditions and the amount of time off I had to take between the 8K and 10K.
Now that I have one 10K under my belt, Brian suggested I run another before the half marathon to get some more experience under my belt. I’ll be running the Amish Country 10K in Berlin on September 8. The hillier course will be a challenge, but one that should help me get ready for the hills in the Akron Half Marathon. I’ll be announcing the Akron Marathon this year, so I’ll run my half marathon on Monday, September 24.
I’m also excited to be on the mic for the actual running of the sold out Goodyear Half Marathon and 10K this weekend. I get to spend a lot more time announcing the names of runners as they cross the finish line in this race than the others in the series. If you’re running, make sure to reach out to me or stop by the start line stage before the race so I know to be looking for you!
If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be at the start line of an 8K, I would have called you crazy. Yet that’s where I was on Monday morning.
As the race announcer for the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, I can’t race the National Interstate 8K on race day. Instead, the Akron Marathon staff set up a “race” for me.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pulled into the Infocision Stadium parking lot, but I arrived to see not just the Marathon staff waiting for me, but a contingent of Blue Line Beginners who would serve as our cheering section and water stop crew throughout the run. There was even pump up music and an introduction like we’ll do for the runners on Saturday!
At 7:00 a.m., it was time. Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen, Social Media Manager Lauren Toole, and George McFly from 94.9 WQMX took off from the start line with me to start the 4.9 mile trek around the University of Akron campus and Downtown Akron.
I knew the first 1.5 miles would be important. In the Blue Line Beginners test run a few weeks ago, I walked the first half mile before running the next mile. I ended that run with gas in the tank, so I decided to try running the entire first 1.5 miles this time around. This challenge was compounded by the fact that there was still some lingering soreness from when I tweaked my leg a few weeks ago. Much to my surprise, the pain went away and we flew through it faster than I thought I could. Our cheering section was set up right where we were going to start walking, so we decided to keep running a bit longer.
After walking to the two mile mark, it was time to run down the hill to Main and Market and start the trip down King James Way. It was here where the advantages of run/walking came into play. My watch had been showing a sub-10:00/mile pace for much of our running, but there was no way I could keep that up for nearly five full miles. Instead, we walked a bit near Canal Park and again on the three major uphills on the back half of the course: Broadway near The Depot Apartments, the bridge on Exchange St., and the hill leading to the UA Student Union. It was around a half mile of walking in all, but it made all the difference in getting me through.
When you reach the UA Commons portion of the course around mile 4.3, you can see Infocision Stadium and you know the finish line is close. I was pretty spent by this point but I knew I had to keep pushing.
I thought back to the first training session I did in February when I found myself huffing and puffing after a mile of walking, a mile that happened to be the first mile of the 8K course. I thought back to a month ago when I suffered my first major setback when I tweaked my leg so badly that it hurt to walk. After coming all this way, I couldn’t stop now. With Brian, George, and Lauren cheering me on, we made it around the stadium and to the field.
Turning the corner onto the field at Infocision Stadium was a moment I’ll never forget. Seeing the Akron Marathon staff and the Blue Line Beginners crew waiting for us, getting my very first race medal, and downing some postrace Chick-Fil-A and root beer was awesome. We finished the 8K in 55:41, more than six minutes faster than the time I put up during the test run.
But the work is far from over. I’ll be back on the road later in the week getting ready for the Goodyear 10K and the Akron Half Marathon. I’ll also be on the mic this weekend, encouraging the runners at the National Interstate 8K and 1 Mile. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I can’t wait for what’s to come!
It seems like just yesterday that I started this journey toward the Akron Half Marathon, yet in less than three weeks I’ll take to the National Interstate 8k course to complete the first race of Akron’s summer trilogy.
With coaching from Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series Race Director Brian Polen, I’ve gone from walking a mile to run/walking six miles. Earlier today, I put in a 5k workout in honor of Global Running Day.
Until today, I hadn’t run on two consecutive days, and my legs didn’t let me forget about it. The first half of the 3.1 mile workout went well, but I could tell that doing the whole thing without walking any of it was going to be a challenge. I wound up having to walk about a half mile in all.
While the workout didn’t quite go as I planned, I couldn’t help but think back to February when I did that very first mile walk. At that time, I would have called you crazy if you said I would be doing anything close to a 5k. It’s amazing how far you can come with a little time and a little effort.
Stick and Ball Sport
Yes, you read that right. Sticks and balls do have a place in running.
A few weeks ago after putting in my first six mile run, I noticed a sharp pain in my right lower leg that wouldn’t go away. When I was sitting or standing it didn’t hurt, but anytime I tried to walk it was painful. The issue didn’t go away as the days went on, so I wound up not running for nearly a week.
Eventually I met with Brian to talk through what was going on. He told me the pain in my shin was likely because the rest of my leg was tight. He suggested two pieces of recovery equipment that got me back running the very next day.
The Stick is exactly what the name suggests: A long, flexible stick with handles on each end. Eight plastic rings surround the stick and act as massagers. It's basically a rolling pin for tight, sore muscles. Along with a foam massaging ball called The Orb (apparently they don’t spend much time coming up with names for these things) and a plan to rotate shoes between the support shoes I was wearing with a more neutral pair, I was able to get back to my training program.
Three Weeks To Go
It seems like it has come up fast, but the National Interstate 8k and 1 Mile is three weeks from Saturday on June 30. Because I serve as the race announcer for that race, I’ll be running the course on Monday, June 25. For anyone looking to get a taste of the course before race day, the Blue Line Beginners are planning a test run on Saturday, June 16.
"Slow down to go faster."
As a fan of auto racing, I've heard that phrase a lot. Don't be so aggressive on certain parts of the race track and your lap times will actually get faster. It turns out the same is true in running.
Over the last couple of weeks, Akron Marathon race director Brian Polen has been slowly adding more running to the run/walks in my training program. At first, I was running as fast as I could for the one minute at a time. Needless to say, "fast as I could" wasn't so fast by the end. For the first mile or so I felt fine, but after that I would notice my running pace falling off. By about the 1.5 mile marker, my walking pace was completely gone as well. As the two mile mark approached, I wasn't sure how I was going to get to the end of the workout.
It took a few times running myself into the ground to realize that I had better back off my pace a bit so I could make it as far as I was supposed to go. But once I did, not only did I feel better but I saw noticeable improvement in my overall pace.
Lt. Dan wasn't lying
In the film Forrest Gump, Lt. Dan reminds Forrest and Bubba about the importance of socks. He was talking about the Vietnam War, of course, but I've found that socks really do make a big difference in running too. When I was trying on shoes at Vertical Runner of Wooster, I couldn't get anything to fit right and not slide around too much until I had on compression socks. There are a bunch of different brands, but the best ones are designed to help people avoid blisters and wick away moisture. The ones I bought cost around $15 per pair, but it was worth it.
Better with friends
In talking to people about my plan to run the Akron Half Marathon, I frequently hear things like "how can you run for that long by yourself? won't it get boring?"
I can't answer that question yet, but I can tell you it's a lot more fun when you get to run with other people. I did my longest workout yet (3.5 miles) with Brian Polen and Lauren Toole from the Marathon staff. Being able to talk with people during the run helped me forget how much work was ahead of me, and I actually felt better than I had at the end of most of my runs in spite of the distance.
Not too late to start
If you still want to get involved with this year's Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series but haven't started training yet, that's okay! This is week one of the Blue Line Beginners program for 2018, and the workouts consist only of 15-20 minute walks, run/walks, or runs. The group will be meeting Saturday at 8:00 a.m. at Botzum Trailhead, 2928 Riverview Road, Akron, for their weekly group run. Members of the Akron Marathon staff are usually in attendance, and there are frequent guest speakers to address various topics related to running.
It started as a Beacon Journal project, became a year-round organization, and is now ready to welcome its next batch of running newbies.
Blue Line Beginners will hold its first meeting of 2018 for new members on Saturday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m. at the Main Branch of the Akron Summit County Public Library in Downtown Akron. The organization, founded by Beacon Journal reporter Paula Schleis, aims to take people who have never run a race before and train them to run the races of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series.
Schleis and Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen joined Jasen to talk about the program and how just about anyone can get involved.
I'm well into my second week of training for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. While I'm nowhere near ready to hit the Blue Line yet, I've already made a few observations:
We're less than 200 days away from the Akron Marathon, but that doesn't mean it's too late to get started on your own Blue Line journey! One of the cool things about the Akron Marathon Race Series is that they have different distances at different races throughout the summer, so if a half marathon or a relay leg seems too daunting you can start with something as short as a 1 mile and work your way up from there.
The week ahead: Two more brisk walks at longer distances... hopefully with less snow!
For the last three years, I've been the announcer for several of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series events. It's become something I look forward to every year, but there has always been one thing about it that has been awkward for me:
I've never actually run a race.
Not a marathon, not a half marathon, not even a 5k. But that's about to change.
Brian Polen, the race director for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, told me after last year's Goodyear Half Marathon and 10k that he wanted to see me run some races this year. I've never been one to jump at the opportunity to work out, but for some reason I said I would. When the weather began to warm up, Brian decided it was time for me to begin my training.
Over the next six months, I'll be preparing to run the National Interstate 8k in June, the Goodyear 10k in August, and the FirstEnergy Akron Half Marathon in September. I'll still be announcing the June and August races and covering the marathon for 1590 WAKR in September, so I'll be running each course about a week before the actual race. Brian has put together a complete training plan for me, and I'll be visiting Vertical Runner of Wooster (which is owned by Brian and his wife Tammy) soon to get all the gear I need to put the plan into action.
I'll be documenting this journey through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Strava, and here on WAKR.net, and I'd love for you to join me! While you may have an idea of what a runner looks like, I've learned that there really is no one type of runner. People of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels challenge the Blue Line each year and achieve their goals. I'll be taking part in this year's Blue Line Beginners program, and I hope I'll get to call your name when you cross the finish line this summer.
For more information or to register for the races, go to www.akronmarathon.org.
Brian Polen joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Monday to talk about turning Jasen into a runner
It was a hot morning Saturday for the 15th running of the Akron Marathon, but four runners beat the heat and their competition to emerge victorious.
Marathon winners Blair Teal and Emma McCarron and half marathon winners Kevin Castille and Liz Weiler talked to Jasen after breaking the tape.
Jasen also talked to men's marathon runner up and Akron native Verrelle Wyatt, whose hometown pride was on display as he wore a "just a runner from Akron" t-shirt on the course and screamed "Akron!" as he crossed the finish line.
More than 9,000 runners from 46 states and 12 countries took to the Blue Line in unseasonably warm conditions Saturday for the 15th running of the Akron Marathon.
Blair Teal of Charlotte, North Carolina avenged his runner up finish in last year's marathon by winning in 2:23:39. Verrelle Wyatt of Akron came in second, just over a minute behind Teal.
In the women's marathon, Emma McCarron of Mansfield ran down eventual runner up Shawanna White in the closing miles to win in 2:52:29. McCarron's sister Grace finished third after the two ran together for much of the morning.
Experience beat youth in the men's half marathon, as 45 year old Kevin Castille of Baton Rouge, Louisiana won in 1:05:16, just over a minute ahead of Medina's Mick Iacofano.
Northeast Ohio runners swept the podium in the women's half marathon. Liz Weiler of Cleveland won in 1:20:09, less than a minute ahead of Beachwood's Amy Gannon. Marissa Baranauskas of Akron finished third.
The male, female, and mixed team relays were won by One 26.2 Sticker (2:54:58), Five Fast Femme Fatale Freak (3:07:46), and George's Farmer Boys and Girls (2:52:43), respectively.
Over the last two years, the Akron Marathon Race Series has raised nearly $900,000 for title sponsor Akron Children's Hospital.
1. Blair Teal, Charlotte, N.C., 2:23:39
2. Verrelle Wyatt, Akron, 2:24:57
3. Zachary Hoagland, Hatfield, Pa., 2:27:47
4. Brent Martin, Wooster, 2:28:11
5. Israel Merkle, Akron, 2:30:52
1. Emma McCarron, Mansfield, 2:52:29
2. Shawanna White, Columbia, S.C., 2:53:27
3. Grace McCarron, Mansfield, 2:54:11
4. Barbara Lorson, Orrville, 3:02:36
5. Jenny Robinson, Cuyahoga Falls, 3:07:23
Masters Men's Marathon
1. Dustin Sprague, Kettering, 2:43:05
2. Francesco Arato, Bolingbrook Ill., 2:48:15
3. Orinthal Striggles, Columbia S.C., 2:48:15
Masters Women's Marathon
1. Dolores Valencia, Chino Hills, Calif., 3:09:46
2. Kristy Kenna, Akron, 3:11:29
3. Teresa Ferguson, Akron, 3:11:46
Men's Half Marathon
1. Kevin Castille, Baton Rouge, La., 1:05:16
2. Mick Iacofano, Medina, 1:06:20
3. Ryan Roush, Canfield, 1:08:14
Women's Half Marathon
1. Liz Weiler, Cleveland, 1:20:09
2. Amy Gannon, Beachwood, 1:20:58
3. Marissa Baranauskas, Akron, 1:23:02
Masters Men's Half Marathon
1. Jason Lafave, Sanford, Mich., 1:15:08
2. Ken Richendollar, Maumee, 1:17:17
3. Mike Seymour, Akron, 1:19:10
Masters Women's Half Marathon
1. Beth Woodward, Orrville, 1:26:19
2. Brenda Hodge, York, Pa., 1:28:48
3. Michelle Farr, Medina, 1:29:22
(Akron Marathon) The FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay celebrated its 15th year along the Blue Line today with a brand new route and warm temperatures. What started as a modest marathon with a field of 3,775 participants has thrived and grown over 300 percent in the last 15 years into a major, first-rate, and signature event within the city of Akron.
"The overall feeling of this race weekend is second to none – from the starting line to the Finisher Festival. The on-course atmosphere was very special this year, with entertainment throughout the course and loads of enthusiastic spectators alongside our Akron Children's hero patients and their families cheering on all the participants," said Shawn Lyden, executive vice president of Akron Children's. "This year more than 13,000 took to the streets during our three race weekends, experiencing the best of what this city has to offer. We couldn't be more proud to serve as the title beneficiary for this great series."
The festivities kicked off Thursday night with two-time Olympian and world champion, Kara Goucher being honored with the 2017 Akron Marathon Ambassador Award. More than 1,000 kids ages 12 and under joined in the fun on Friday night at the Kids 1-Mile Fun Run, presented by Signet Jewelers. After offering inspiration to the runners at the Health and Fitness Expo presented by Summa Health and SummaCare on Friday, Goucher joined the runners in Saturday's Half Marathon event, and earned cheers from the more than 100,000 race spectators there to rally their favorite runners toward the finish line.
"Fifteen years is no easy feat. Through many course and venue changes, adding distances along the way, and expansion into a race series, we are so proud to be hosting the 15th annual event. We are thrilled to report that 143,165 runners have run this event throughout the 15 years," said Steve Marks, founder and chairman of the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation. "Although so much has happened and so much has changed over the years – it still seems like it wasn't too long ago that we were doing this for the first time. The continuity of the having an amazing city like Akron as a partner and having the support of many loyal sponsors through the years, along with one of the best race staffs out there, is a big part of our success."
Blair Teal of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Emma McCarron of Mansfield, found that success on Saturday morning and were the first to cross the finish line inside Canal Park Stadium for the marathon, with respective times of 2:23:39 and 2:52:29. While Kevin Castille of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Liz Weiler from Cleveland, took top places in the half marathon.
The runner-up in the men's marathon was Verrelle Wyatt of Akron, finishing with a time of 2:24:57, and Zachary Hoagland of Hatfield, Pennsylvania, crossing the line third at 2:27:47. Shawanna White of Columbia, South Carolina finished in second on the women's side with a time of 2:53:27, followed by Grace McCarron from Mansfield in 2:54:11.
Top men's half marathon finishers included Medina's Mick Iacofano and Ryan Roush from Canfield with equally fast times of 1:06:20 and 1:08:14. Beachwood's Amy Gannon took second in the women's half marathon finishing in 1:20:58, with Akron's own Marissa Baranauskas, crossing in third at 1:23:02.
The top finishers in the masters (40 years and older) marathon competition were, Dustin Sprague of Kettering and Dolores Valencia of Chino Hills, California, on the women's side. For the half marathon, the top masters were Jason Lafave of Sanford, Michigan and Beth Woodward of Orrville. (Complete winner information can be found at the end of release.)
The marathon relay didn't disappoint with fast times and wins turned in by Five Guys, One 26.2 Sticker for the five-person male team relay in 2:54:58, Five Fast Femme Fatale Freak was the top women's squad with a finishing time of 3:07:46. A time of 2:53:43 was clocked by the top mixed competition team – George's Farmer Boys and Girls.
For the third year, prize money was awarded to the top three men and women to finish the marathon who are Ohio residents. Those top winners were, Verrelle Wyatt, Akron and Emma McCarron of Mansfield.
"FirstEnergy is very proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Akron Marathon, a marquee event for our region that draws some of the world's top runners to compete just steps from our headquarters," said Charles Jones, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy Corp. "We have nearly 2,500 employees who live and work in the Akron area, many of whom volunteer or run in the Akron Marathon every year. This event showcases the city and we're pleased to be a part of it."
2017 served as the third year for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. The National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile was held on June 24 and the Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k was run on August 12. More than 1,400 runners completed the series and participated in all three races this year.
"Fifteen years after the first race, our mission and focus remains the same: providing a world-class marathon and other events that promote health and fitness, stimulate the local economy, galvanize the community and benefit charitable organizations," said Anne Bitong, executive director of the Akron Marathon. "With more than 9,000 runners this weekend from 46 states and 12 countries, nearly $900,000 raised for Akron Children's Hospital during our two-year series partnership and the smiling faces from our volunteers, runners and the spectators today, I think it is safe to say it was another successful year for the Akron Marathon."
It's right around the corner, and with the forecast calling for some steamy weather, the Akron Marathon will be ready to roll on Saturday.
Akron Marathon Course Committee Co-Chairman and Board member Bret Treier joined Sam and Brad in studio to talk about this year's race including some of the changes coming to the course due to construction.
"The thing we're most excited about this year is we're going back to Firestone Park," Treier said. "We had the race there traditionally, a couple years ago we did to not go down south to Firestone Park due to heavy construction on Brown and Main both."
The race is in it's 15th year, and is sponsored by Akron Children's Hospital and FirstEnergy.
For more information on Saturday's race, click here.
This year's Akron Marathon Ambassador is certainly no stranger to running -- the honor goes to marathon runner Kara Goucher, who's runningn career includes shattering records during her debut at the New York Marathon in 2008 and winning the first American medal in the World Outdoor Championships in 2007 following a championship run at the University of Colorado.
Goucher will be recognized in a special ceremony on the Thursday prior to this year's Akron Marathon, scheduled for Saturday, September 23rd through the streets of downtown Akron.
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(Akron Marathon) Since 2008, the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation (AMCC) has celebrated the contributions of dedicated leaders in the sport with their Akron Marathon Ambassador Award. This year, AMCC will honor two-time Olympian, World Championship medalist, and World-Class marathoner Kara Goucher with the 2017 Akron Marathon Ambassador Award.
Goucher burst onto the running scene competing collegiately for the University of Colorado and was a three-time NCAA champion. In 2007, her bronze in the IAAF World Outdoor Championships was the first ever American medal won in the 10,000 meter distance. Later in 2007, Goucher increased her distance and not only won the Great North Run half marathon in Newcastle, England but recorded the women’s fastest-ever half marathon debut in the world. In 2008, Goucher turned in another history-making performance at the New York Marathon racing her way to the fastest marathon debut ever by an American woman, the fastest time ever by an American at the event, and the first time in 14 years that an American woman placed in the top three in New York. She has competed in two Olympics, competing for the United States in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter distances in 2008 and the marathon in 2012.
An inspirational mentor to many, she leads annual female running retreats and shares her know-how, tips and advice in her first book: “Kara Goucher's Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons.”“Kara has left her mark on U.S. distance running during her exceptional career. Goucher’s name, and face, is one of the most recognized in the running world,” said Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation Trustee Dave Hunter. “Her enthusiasm for the sport and honest approach to competition truly embodies the spirit of the Akron Marathon and we are thrilled to honor her and have her with us for the 15th running of the Marathon.
”The tenth annual Ambassador Award will be presented at an invitation-only VIP Reception on Thursday, September 21 at Greystone Hall. The award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions and lasting impacts to the sport of running has honored many iconic figures in the sport including Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Kathrine Switzer, Bill Rodgers, Amby Burfoot, Hal Higdon, Craig Masback, Creigh Kelley, and most recently Meb Keflezighi in 2016.
The FirstEnergy Akron Marathon Health and Fitness Expo presented by Summa Health and SummaCare will be held at the John S. Knight Center on Friday, September 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The expo is free and open to the public and Goucher will be on hand to greet runners and sign autographs.The Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series hit the road with nearly 2,000 runners and walkers participating in the first of three summer races – the National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile on June 24. The series continues on August 12 with the Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k, and culminates with the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, and Team Relay on September 23. Registration for both events is available at AkronMarathon.org.
About Kara Goucher
Kara Goucher is a professional runner, inspirational mentor, proud mother and loving wife. She graduated from the University of Colorado with three Division I NCAA championships in cross-country, the 3000m and 5000m. She is a two-time Olympian, an American record holder, World Championships silver medalist, and one of the most accomplished female distance runners of all time. In addition to her professional resume, Kara is an inspiration to people everywhere. She is an advocate for clean sport and women’s rights, and she connects with organizations and non-profits that are making a positive impact. Her partners include Oiselle, Skechers Performance, nuun and Zensah.
Nearly 13,000 runners laced up their shoes for this year's Akron Marathon, and local runners dominated the winner's list in both the full and half marathon.
Tony Migliozzi of North Canton broke the tape in the marathon in 2 hours, 21, minutes, and 40 seconds, a new record for the current version of the course. Migliozzi, the reigning world 50k champion, is the first American male to win the Akron Marathon.
In the women's division, Becki Spellman of Hilliard won in 2:51:33. The win was Spellman's second of the year in the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, as she won the Goodyear Half Marathon in August.
Ohioans also took home top honors in the half marathon. Canton's Ryan Kienzle and Dayton's Maura Lemon won the men's and women's divisions in 1:08:02 and 1:18:25 respectively. It was Kienzle's second win in Akron.
It was a record-setting day not just for Migliozzi, but for two other athletes who challenged the Blue Line. Ron Legg of Beach City set the U.S. record for the men's 20k in the 70-74 year old age bracket with a time of 1:26:27. The previous record had stood since 1980.
Helen McWilliams set a Guiness World Record for the fastest marathon while dressed as a chef in 4:54:49 while also raising several thousand dollars for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. In addition to wearing the traditional chef's jacket, pants and hat, McWilliams also had to carry a six-pound pot for the entire 26.2 miles.
The usual thousands of spectators and well-wishers along the course were joined for the first time this year by 24 Akron Children's Hospital patients in 13 new "hero zones" added to the course as part of the marathon's new partnership with the hospital. In addition, Meb Keflezighi, the winner of the 2014 Boston Maraton, 2009 New York City Marathon, and silver medalist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, was on hand to congratulate runners at the finish line.
1st: Tony Migliozzi, North Canton, 2:21:40
2nd: Blair Teal, Charlotte, N.C., 2:23:43
3rd: Israel Merkle, Akron, 2:23:02
1st: Becki Spellman, Hilliard, 2:51:33
2nd: Kayla Aluise, Youngstown, 3:01:03
3rd: Lauren Woolley, Pittsburgh, Pa., 3:05:28
Men's Half Marathon
1st: Ryan Kienzle, Canton, 1:08:02
2nd: Ryan Roush, Canfield, 1:08:09
3rd: Matt Lemon, Dayton, 1:09:56
Women's Half Marathon
1st: Maura Lemon, Dayton, 1:18:25
2nd: Ellie Hess, Chesterland, 1:20:01
3rd: Emma McCarron, Mansfield, 1:21:31
Masters Divison (40+) Winners
Men's Marathon: Francsesco Arato, Bolingbrook, Ill., 2:44:00
Women's Marathon: Teresa Ferguson, Akron, 3:11:17
Men's Half Marathon: Brad Prather, Roanoke, Ind., 1:17:34
Women's Half Marathon: Michelle Farr, Medina, 1:29:49
Men's: The First Tee of Greater Akron Flyers
Women's: Cleveland Elite Development
Here are a few highlights from this year's marathon:
The Akron Marathon will be under way this weekend as runners from all over country and the world will look to put on display their will, determination, and athletic ability. Some runners will look to set their own personal marathon records while others will look to break world records. For Helen McWilliams she has a paticular Guinness Record in her sights. McWilliams sat down with Jasen Sokol to discuss her ambition to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest time running a marathon while dressed as a chef.
The Akron Police Department has released the full list of road closures that start Friday and continue on a rolling schedule through early Saturday afternoon.
Beginning Friday, S. Main St. Between State and Bowery will close start at 6 p.m. At 6:30, S. Main St. between W. Exchange and State St will close. At 7 p.m., E. Buchtel Ave. between High and S. Main St. will close along with S. High St. between Church St. and University.
Click here to see the full list of closures courtesy of the Akron Police Department.
This weekend's Goodyear 10k -- part of the Akron Marathon race series -- is now sold out with the only slots available for the half-marathon. More than 1,500 runners are taking part in the event Saturday that starts at Goodyear's world headquarters.
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(Akron Marathon) The Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series has announced that the 2016 Goodyear 10k, which features 1,500 runners, is officially sold out. The race begins at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 13, at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's global headquarters at 200 Innovation Way in Akron.
While registration for both the 10k and Half Marathon closed today (Aug. 9), the Akron Marathon will offer additional registration for the Half Marathon at packet pick-up based on a limited basis. Packet pick-up will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, August 12 at the John S. Knight Center.
"We couldn't be happier with the amount of excitement surrounding the race series," said Anne Bitong, Akron Marathon president/executive director. "Coming off a successful series kick-off in June with our 8k & 1 Mile races, the number of participants for this race affirms the event's popularity and we are just thrilled to continue the momentum into this weekend's race."
The Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k course will travel past Goodyear's headquarters and includes a lap around the track at the tiremaker's restricted-access Akron Proving Grounds.
The top three overall men/women as well as top three masters men/women will receive awards in both the half marathon and 10k events. Awards will also be given to the top three men/women in each age group. The top male and female in the half marathon, as well as the top male and female in the 10k, will each receive a Goodyear Blimp ride for two and a $50 gift certificate to local Goodyear retail stores.
After the race, runners and spectators can enjoy the Finisher Festival that includes a live band, Swenson's Food Truck, Eddies Famous Cheesesteaks, ice cream and more.
Participants in the Half Marathon will receive a short sleeve premium tech shirt, medal, commemorative hat and food festival tickets. Participants in the 10k will receive a short sleeve premium tech shirt, medal and food festival tickets.
The remaining 2016 race dates are as follows: August 13 (Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k) and September 24 (FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay). The dates coordinate with a typical training schedule to help runners reach bigger goals and longer distances. Registration for Akron Marathon Race Series events is available at AkronMarathon.org.
Get ready for a mouthful; The Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series Marathon, Half-Marathon and Team Relay will become the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series Marathon, Half-Marathon and Team Relay presented by FirstEnergy. And that's a good thing.
It may take a few breaths to get the name out, but it does show the deep level of support and backing one of the premier events showcasing Akron enjoys locally from the Akron business community. Two of the business community's heavyweights reinforced that message as Bill Considine, CEO of Akron Children's Hospital and Chuck Jones, CEO of FirstEnergy, teamed with Akron Mayor Jeff Fusco and Akron Marathon founder Steve Marks to announce the event's new sponsorships.
Akron Children's Hospital stepped in last month and FirstEnergy signed up as a presenting sponsor, something the Akron-based utility wanted to do before Time Warner first led as presenting sponsor in 2003. Jones said the utility sees the sponsorship as continuation of what it's done giving back to the communities it serves across it's five-state footprint.
"Our headquarters is here, this will always be our home, it's been our home for over a hundred years," Jones said. "Akron's a great community...I'm proud of the growth that it's seen, how it's transformed itself from the rubber capital of the world to a vibrant city."
Considine is a key player among Akron's corporate and community leaders.
"We're pretty excited about it. It unites the community," Considine said. "It's a national event...we're a national hospital, seeing patients from all 50 states at Akron Children's Hospital. An event like the Akron Marathon shows the community cares." Considine called Akron a "champion city" and said the Marathon is an "image builder" for Akron.
"The Akron Marathon has always been about community, and we're extremely happy one of the largest employers in Summit County has stepped up," said Marathon founder Steve Marks.
The Akron Marathon drew more than 20,000 participants during it's events in 2015 with events including the full marathon, half-marathon, relay and other races.
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(Akron Marathon)FirstEnergy Corp. has signed a three-year agreement with the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series to serve as the presenting sponsor of the Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay held each September. The announcement was made Tuesday at a special event at Cascade Plaza in downtown Akron.
FirstEnergy replaces Time Warner Cable, which had served as presenting sponsor since the Akron Marathon's inception in 2003.
"The Akron Marathon has always been about community and we're extremely happy one of the largest employers in Summit County has stepped up to become presenting sponsor," said Steve Marks, Akron Marathon founder. "At the same time, we'd like to thank Time Warner Cable for being a great partner for the first 13 years of the event."
Headquartered in Akron, FirstEnergy has more than 15,000 employees who serve six million customers across six states.
"We're thrilled to partner with Akron Children's Hospital to increase our sponsorship of the Akron Marathon," said Chuck Jones, president and CEO of FirstEnergy. "This race has become a nationally-respected event, both because it's so well-organized and because of the tremendous ways this community has embraced it. Many of our employees and customers run, volunteer and cheer for this event every year, making this a perfect fit for FirstEnergy."
FirstEnergy has been a major sponsor of the Akron marathon since its inception in 2003.
The inaugural Akron Marathon featured 3,775 participants and has grown to more than 14,000 across the weekend's events. The marquee event generates more than $6 million in economic activity and generates thousands of dollars more in contributions to countless charities.
"FirstEnergy has been a longtime partner of Akron Children's Hospital, and we are delighted that they accepted our invitation to step up to presenting sponsor of the marathon as we become the race's title beneficiary in 2016," said Bill Considine, Akron Children's Hospital president and CEO. "We are grateful to FirstEnergy and all the individuals and organizations who are so civic-minded and make Akron such a great place to live."
Known as the Akron Marathon Rubber City Race Series in 2015, more than 20,000 runners participated across the three events. The series dates were developed to help guide runners through a typical training schedule leading up to the marquee events. The 2016 events will be held June 25 (8k & 1-Mile), August 13 (Half Marathon & 10k) and Sept. 24 (Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay & Kids Fun Run). Registration is scheduled to open this winter.
The Akron Marathon's official name is getting even longer, with official word coming Tuesday afternoon.
It was a mouthful when the Akron Marathon Race Series became the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, and now you can add another title name sponsor into the mix.
Officials from Akron Children's Hospital, the Akron Marathon and FirstEnergy will be announcing even more support for the event that's grown into a national race. All are tight-lipped ahead of the announcement Tuesday afternoon but FirstEnergy will take title of one of the Akron Marathon signature races.
There is a delicious irony to FirstEnergy's sponsorship; the utility already sponsors the All-American Soap Box Derby by name, meaning it'll be a title sponsor on two Akron-based races -- one billed as a thrill down the hill thanks to and the other based on human-powered motion, both unaided by engines or motors. Neither race needing electricity.