Lifestyle

Akron Marathon Preview 2012

image courtesy of google images
Chad W. Lutz
It all started 10 years ago and now stands as one of the most popular marathon events in the country. Every year, the Akron Road Runner Marathon attracts thousands of avid athletes and aspiring amateurs to Downtown Akron in late-September. Began in 2003, the race was originally held in mid-October. The race moved to early-October for the following two years before falling on a late-September date in 2007. Since then, the Akron Marathon has become a staple of the city and features some of the best and brightest athletes in the world.

The 2007 version of the event also featured the addition of a half marathon event to accompany the existing marathon and relay team races. The original 2003 marathon field consisted of a mere 855 finishers. By 2007, more than 1,100 runners complete the marathon, with another 1,100 finishing the half marathon and more than 3,700 runners competing in relays.

The 2012 Akron Marathon boasts a predicted race field of more than 10,000 runners. Celebrating the race’s 10th anniversary, officials expanded entry fields to accommodate the growing popularity of the race. Both the marathon and half marathon sold out before the end of August, and 5-person relay team entries are nearing an all-time high.

What makes the Akron Marathon so special? A lot of things, but in particular, the Akron Marathon staff goes out of their way to treat every participant like a world-class athlete. In addition to an invited runner program for elites, each participant receives a personal handshake from race director Jim Barnett as they cross the finish line. Runners also receive a Brooks running jacket, discounts on runner merchandise, magazine subscriptions, and local stores and restaurants and enjoy an Olympic-style finish in Canal Park Stadium.

Sometime around the end of July, Akron comes alive with each year’s participants following the blue line to get a preview of the course. However, Akron Marathon events received a facelift this year and feature brand new marathon and half marathon courses, including a double back over the Y-Bridge in the half marathon event, and shortcut up and out of Sand Run Parkway that includes a rather sudden and sizeable hill.

Runners looking to gain entry to the race may still be able to take advantage of last-minute drop-out vacancies at the marathon expo held at the John S. Knight Center Friday, September 28, 2012 from 11:00am to 9:00pm. The Health and Fitness Expo features keynote speaker and former Olympian Bill Rodgers as well as co-race founders Steve and Jeannine Marks and Race Director Jim Barnett. The Health and Fitness Expo stands free and open to the public as well as participants.

Expo Pricing for Akron Marathon Events:
$115 – Marathon
$105 – Half Marathon
$55 per person - Relay