For Your Health

Akron Marathon Preview

Chad W. Lutz
Have you heard the word? If you’re a runner and you live in the Akron area then you’ve definitely heard of the bird. Now in its 9th year, the Akron Marathon stands as one of the nation’s top marathons and attracts hundreds of thousands of marathon runners and enthusiasts to the Akron area every fall.

The Akron Marathon course takes runners on an all-inclusive tour of the Rubber City. Runners start outside the Justice Center on S. Broadway St. at 7am. The course then takes participants across the infamous “Y” bridge and back through the rolling downtown landscape along High St. towards Wilbeth Rd. where the course then heads back up through Akron University before plummeting down Howard St. and onto the Towpath via Cascade Valley Metro Park. This is where half marathoners veer off and head towards the finish line.

The second half of the marathon includes a scenic view along the Cuyahoga River on the Towpath. The Towpath extends from Cleveland to Canton and includes over 32 miles of trail. Akron Marathon participants then make their way onto Portage Path before heading onto the dreaded Sand Run Parkway. The Sand Run Metro Park features just about as many rolling hills as there are miles in a marathon and are an excellent test of a runner’s ability. Sand Run Parkway and other treats such as Garmin Rd. hill at mile 22 help make the Akron Marathon course voted one of the hardest marathons to run in the country.

The race finishes out with a beautiful glimpse of Stan Hewitt Hall and surrounding gardens. The race takes runners out onto Market St. and finishes in Olympic style right inside Canal Park downtown. Race director Jim Barnett personally shakes the hands of all participants as they cross the finish line and receive a commemorative medal featuring everybody’s favorite coyote foil, the Road Runner.

The event, sponsored by Time Warner Cable, features a full marathon, half marathon, and five-person relay. Relay runners share 5 legs of a full marathon. All participants receive a commemorative medal, goodie bag, and technical t-shirt of race jacket. Entry for the full marathon is $110 at the expo. Entry for the half marathon will be $95 at the expo. Relay fees will be $45 per person.

Runners pick up their bibs, race packets, and goodie bags Friday, September 23 at the John S. Knight Center at 77 E Mill St. in downtown Akron. Expo hours run from 11:00am to 9:00pm. Featured at the expo will be guest speaker Hal Higdon of Marathon:The Ultimate Training Guide and How To Run Fast fame. Higdon will be meeting and greeting runners from 1pm to 3pm and speaking from 4pm to 5pm Friday afternoon. The expo boasts 80 different venders this year, including Hudson’s own Vertical Runner and Tallmadge-based Ritchie’s Sporting Goods among national brands such as Brooks Sports, GU, Vibram, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Below are links to even more helpful information:
Akron Marathon Course Map
Akron Half Marathon Course Map
Akron Marathon Parking Map
Akron Marathon Road Closure Schedule