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Akron Marathon celebrating 10th anniversary this year

9/27/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown is the start of last year’s Akron Marathon. This year the event will take place Sept. 29 at 7 a.m. at 177 S. Broadway St.
Photo: Krista Galloway
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The 10th annual Akron Marathon will wind through the streets of Akron Sept. 29.

Anne Bitong, president and executive director of the Akron Marathon, said the 10th anniversary will be honored in numerous ways, including the publication of a 10-year commemorative book, which will be available for sale at the Health & Fitness Expo.

“This year, we have a new website [www.akronmarathon .org] to reflect the personality of the marathon and organize content, helping to provide direct, timely and relevant information,” she said.

Bitong said several changes have been made to the event itself for this special year.

“There also have been course modifications to create a flatter marathon, a faster half marathon and a shortened final leg of the Team Relay, allowing for a dash to the finish,” she explained. “The health and safety of all participants is, of course, our top priority. New this year, we will introduce a color-coded flag system to advise participants throughout our course about issues [that] could potentially affect the race. These flags will be located at all aid stations along the course.”

In addition, Bitong said, recycling will play a bigger part in the event than ever before.

“This year, the Akron Marathon will be certified by the Council for Responsible Sport for enhanced greening efforts at this year’s race,” she said. “Runners can expect recycling, composting, heat sheet and D-tag collection sites at various points along the course and at the start and finish lines.”

Another change for this year is the event will have a larger prize purse. The overall prize money this year equals $6,500, she said.

“This is very exciting, as there are cumulative cash incentives that will be given to all runners who reach threshold levels in various marathon categories,” said Jim Chaney, associate race director. “These levels will be more achievable in 2012.”

According to Bitong, both the full marathon and half marathon have sold out this year for the first time ever.

“We expect a total of 15,000 runners to participate in the full marathon, half marathon, five-person team relay and Kids Fun Run,” she stated. “As of today [Sept. 24], the team relay is not sold out. Complete teams can register until the event is sold out or until the close of the Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, Sept. 28. Race registration is not available on race day. The full marathon is capped at 2,000 runners.”

Bitong said 3,000 volunteers are needed to help run the annual event.

“There is always room for more,” she said. “The incredible support from the community over the years has helped this event grow from a dream to one of the premier sporting events in Northeast Ohio.”

Also, several streets in Akron will be closed for the marathon. For more details, visit the marathon website.

The following is a rundown of marathon events and activities:

• The Health & Fitness Expo will take place Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the John S. Knight Center, 77 E. Mill St. The Expo will be the site of final race registration and packet pick-up for preregistered runners and relay teams. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature more than 80 exhibitors.

• New this year will be Blue Line Tours, presented by Brouse McDowell, on Sept. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. or 2 to 4 p.m. The tours will depart and return to the John S. Knight Center. The guided tours, limited to 40 people each tour, will feature the Akron Marathon course and highlight course changes and the history behind course landmarks. Reservations are required and can be made at www.akronmarathon.org.

• Akron Marathon staff will host a pinning ceremony Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. to honor and reward race loyalty to full marathon runners who are 5-Year Club and 10-Year Club members at a pinning ceremony on the ground level of the John S. Knight Center.

• The annual Akron Marathon Pasta Party will take place Sept. 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. on the ground level of the John S. Knight Center. The dinner is $15 per person and free for children 3 and younger.

• The Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relays will take place Sept. 29. Races will start at 7 a.m. at 177 S. Broadway St. and conclude at Canal Park. Post-race awards and entertainment will be open to the public and take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside Canal Park Stadium.

• The Kids Fun Run will start at 9 a.m. at the Spaghetti Warehouse, 510 S. Main St., and conclude at Lock 3 Park. Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m. The 1-mile run is free and open to children 14 and younger. All runners will receive a T-shirt, medallion and goodie bag.

Additionally, Bitong said, “runners can expect a few surprises at the start line.”

For further details about the Akron Marathon, go to www.akronmarathon.org or call 330-434-2RUN (2786).

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