For Your Health

Preview: Akron Marathon 2013

Chad W. Lutz
In the early history of the Rubber City, Akron was all about Goodyear, Firestone, and Bridgestone. Echoes of that not-so-distant past still knock around the valleys of the Cuyahoga River, but the Akron we know and love today carries a different feel, quite far removed from its diesel and doomed polymer past. The arts have made a comeback, nightlife provides something for everyone, and no matter where you look, there always seems to be someone on the run. That is, in part, due to successes of the now widely hailed marathon put on by the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation.

In early March, The Council for Responsible Sport certified the Akron Marathon as an officially Green race. The event, which boasted a participant field of roughly 15,000 runners in 2012, achieved the status by recycling nearly 5.5 tons of waste and composting, reducing paper waste with excess, unnecessary flyers, and handing typical runner debris, i.e. empty GU packs, PowerBar wrappers, and racing chips, over to specialty recycling firm Terracycle. Akron Marathon becomes just the 50th race to receive the distinguished honor.

The Akron Marathon serves as one of the highlights on the community calendar and draws over 15,000 participants and thousands more spectators each September. This year's race takes place on Saturday, September 28. The event also features a half marathon, 5-person marathon relay, and a kid's fun run 1-mile event. The marathon and half marathon kick off the festivities at 7:00am followed at 9:00am by the kid's fun run.

In its eleventh year, the Akron Marathon will feature the same signature blue line running the length of the course, the same modern race-day amenities, such as medical tents, baggage claims, and post-race massages. Participants receive commemorative finisher's medals, year-subscriptions to Running Times, gear bags, official Akron Marathon Brooks jackets for marathon runners and long-sleeve tech-shirts for half marathon and relay participants, and free goodie bags filled with product samples and discounts to area restaurants and retailers.

While no one would probably consider Akron a Top 10 U.S. city, in their right mind or otherwise, the Akron Marathon proves a different story. Over the years, Akron Marathon has received continued notoriety for course amenities, topography, and overall participant satisfaction. In 2012, Active.com ranked the Akron Marathon as one of the top 11 marathons to run in the fall. Akron also reportedly boasts one of the toughest marathon courses in the United States (thanks Merriman Valley). But watch out, Akron is best friends with Iliotibial tendinitis, and nobody likes a visit from that bastard.
photo from akronmarathon.org