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Akron Marathon Race Series Continues with Proof of Vaccination or Negative COVID-19 Test Requirements

After two successful events in the Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health, the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation has announced its marquee event, the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay on Sept. 25, 2021, will now require runners and volunteers to be fully vaccinated (with proof of a COVID-19 vaccination card) or have a negative COVID-19 test result 72 hours before the race to participate. This protocol was updated to help protect the health and safety of the public in light of the increase in COVID-19 cases and is aligned with best practices for mass gatherings. 

As always, Summa Health, the Akron Marathon, and FirstEnergy event organizers are working closely with the City of Akron and Summit County Public Health on race weekend plans that align with Summit County’s public health and safety efforts to protect its runners, volunteers, and spectators. Due to the increasing COVID-19 numbers and the Delta variant, new health requirements were added. 

“In order to ensure the race experience that our runners expect—including the Finisher’s Festival—we have to make certain of their safety first and foremost,” states Anne Bitong, president of the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation. “I want to express my gratitude for our team, the City of Akron, and Summit County, along with our sponsors and volunteers who have been working together on the detailed logistics of the event.

"Health and safety at all levels have been discussed—from packet pick-up and fluid stations to wave starts and lowered capacity—helping to keep our runners feeling safe and together. That’s what this community has always been about.”

During the Aug. Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k, 81 percent of runners self-identified as fully vaccinated. For the Sept. events, proof of vaccination may be presented as a hard copy, photocopy, or digital version of an immunization record. Registered runners who are not fully vaccinated must provide a negative COVID-19 test result for a test administered within 72 hours of attending the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test will be required to pick up an in-person race bib at the Akron Marathon Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, Sept. 24.

The Akron Marathon defines “fully vaccinated” as individuals who are two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.

“The health and safety of our community is our top priority,” states Mike Bernstein, system director, corporate communications of Summa Health. “We strongly recommend the available COVID vaccines and commend the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation for its work in keeping race participants safe.”

The FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay, which will follow the Blue Line through the streets of Akron on Sept. 25., is the third and final race in the Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health.

“FirstEnergy applauds the race organizers and local officials who are keeping the health and safety of race participants, their supporters, and volunteers at the forefront to ensure a safe and successful event,” said Steven Strah, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy. “As the proud title sponsor of this marquee Akron event, FirstEnergy and its employees look forward to celebrating with the runners when they cross the finish line in September.”   

Need to find a vaccine near you? Contact your local physician or visit vaccinefinder.org for more information on COVID-19 vaccines and where to find one. 

Based on national standards, accepted COVID-19 tests are those that have received FDA emergency use authorization and also include RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, lateral flow, and antigen tests. 

For more information or volunteer opportunities and race registration for the final event, visit AkronMarathon.org.

(08/27/2021) Views: 428 ⚡AMP
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Akron Marathon Race Series

Akron Marathon Race Series

The marquee event of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay presented by First Energy receives a fresh new look ! Runners will experience an unforgettable start inside the historic grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens before taking an exclusive foot tour of the City of Akron. The Goodyear Half...

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2021 Akron Marathon Announces Blue Line Striders Training Program with SummaCare and Summa Health

The Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health is thrilled to announce its Blue Line Striders training series in partnership with SummaCare, giving its running community a sneak peek into the new FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay course.

During the Blue Line Striders training runs, happening once a month leading up to race day, participants will have the opportunity to run different sections of the Akron Marathon course. Additionally, each time runners meet, a doctor from Summa Health will join to discuss a health topic common for runners. All distances and paces are welcome!

Each Blue Line Striders training run has been carefully chosen based on the training plans outlined by the Akron Marathon and is the perfect supplement to assist runners leading up to each race.

Blue Line Striders training runs will begin at 7:00 a.m. and will preview sections of the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon course:

4 miles: Sat., June 12, Relay Leg 1, 199 S. Broadway St, Akron, OH 44308

7 miles: Sat., July 10, Relay Leg 2, 199 S. Broadway St, Akron, OH 44308

7 miles: Sat., Aug. 21, Relay Leg 4, 1466 N. Portage Path, Akron, OH 44313

12 or 20 miles: Sat., Sept. 4, 199 S. Broadway St, Akron, OH 44308

Runner’s Choice: Sat., Oct. 9, 499 Memorial Parkway, Akron, OH 44310 

“As the new presenting sponsor of this year's Akron Marathon Race Series, Summa Health is actively making a deeper connection with our blue liners and supporting runners not only on race day, but throughout their training season in a meaningful way,” states Anne Bitong, president and CEO of the Akron Marathon. “This program is their way to show its incredible level of support, and was designed to act as the perfect complement to the Akron Marathon training calendar.”

Topics discussed by Summa Health physicians will include common spring/summer injuries, the importance of long runs, the importance of cross-training/core work/stretching, personal record tips, avoiding the wall, and post-race recovery.  

“We are thrilled to bring the expertise of our physicians to those participating in the Blue Line Striders Training Series,” said Dr. Nilesh Shah, Summa Health Sports Medicine Medical Director. “We know physical activity can sometimes come with injuries. By having these discussions, we hope to foster a safe and fun running environment for all, regardless of pace or experience.”

(05/21/2021) Views: 571 ⚡AMP
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Akron Marathon Race Series

Akron Marathon Race Series

The marquee event of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay presented by First Energy receives a fresh new look ! Runners will experience an unforgettable start inside the historic grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens before taking an exclusive foot tour of the City of Akron. The Goodyear Half...

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Akron Marathon confirms return this year

After a year of isolation due to COVID-19 and months of cold weather, it's time to start running again.

The Akron Marathon on Tuesday announced there are 200 days to go before the main event in September. The first event is set for June, and slots are filling up. Half of the September marathon registrations already have been spoken for as well.

Summit County Public Health approved the plans in a letter to the nonprofit back in November, stating the protocols established were, "very thorough and well thought-out," according to Tonia Burford, environmental health director.

"With the staggered start and bracelet system you have implemented to limit capacity in the races that end in stadiums, there is no need to apply for a variance at this time under the current sports directors' order," Burford wrote.

Plans for the Expo remain pending, race officials said.

After canceling the first two races last year, the Akron Marathon hosted a virtual race last September.

The city of Akron approved plans for this year's in-person race series at the end of February.

The city will continue to follow the guidance of Summit County Public Health regarding health and safety protocols necessary for race days with the understanding that these are subject to change based upon the restrictions and orders in lace at the time of the races," Mayor Daniel Horrigan wrote Feb. 24, adding the city will provide security and safety forces to support the event.

The Akron Marathon announced the approvals Tuesday on social media, inviting the community to start training for the signature event, scheduled for Sept. 25 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

(03/10/2021) Views: 492 ⚡AMP
by Eric Marotta
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Akron Marathon Race Series

Akron Marathon Race Series

The marquee event of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay presented by First Energy receives a fresh new look ! Runners will experience an unforgettable start inside the historic grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens before taking an exclusive foot tour of the City of Akron. The Goodyear Half...

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Summa Health the new sponsor of Akron Marathon

Summa Health has been named presenting sponsor for the Akron Marathon Race Series through 2023, it was announced Tuesday.

“Summa has been a long-time partner of the Akron Marathon,” said Anne Bitong, president and CEO at Akron Marathon Charitable Corp. in a news release. “Since our inception, Summa has been our Official Sports Medicine sponsor supporting our medical aid stations across all events, and they’ve had more than 100 employees and volunteers support each race we’ve hosted with an incredible passion for this community.”

The race series encompasses three events with distances ranging from one mile to the marathon.

Previous presenting sponsor was Akron Children’s Hospital, which will continue supporting the marathon. It will sponsor the kids fun run Friday, Sept. 24.

Event organizers said they are working closely with Akron and Summit County Public Health officials regarding race-weekend plans that align with public health and safety efforts. Registration for 2021 events will be conducted through a tiered registration process, which allows a limited group of eligible individuals based on previous participation and event deferment from the 2020 races, on Wednesday, Jan. 13. The public registration window is scheduled to open Monday, Jan. 18.

2021 race dates (all are Saturdays)

• National Interstate 8k and 1 Mile - June 26

• Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k - Aug. 14

• FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay - Sept. 25

(01/12/2021) Views: 581 ⚡AMP
by Marc Bona
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Akron Marathon Race Series

Akron Marathon Race Series

The marquee event of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay presented by First Energy receives a fresh new look ! Runners will experience an unforgettable start inside the historic grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens before taking an exclusive foot tour of the City of Akron. The Goodyear Half...

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Kolt Codner runs his first marathon around hospital for 4-year-old son with cancer

There were two thoughts pushing Kolt Codner forward in his first marathon race: his 4-year-old son Andrew's fight against cancer and the hospital that provides him care.

Codner, of Poland, Ohio, ran 26.2 miles around Akron Children's Hospital on October 17 to raise money for the hospital treating his son, who has 26 months left in his treatment.

In early May, Codner and his wife Tristan received a phone call that Andrew had a bed waiting for him in the hematology and oncology unit of the hospital.

A day that began as a visit to the pediatrician for Andrew's swollen face had resulted in a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common childhood cancer.

Codner's run served to show his appreciation to the hospital staff that has turned a traumatic experience like cancer treatment into one his young son faces bravely, Codner says.

"The folks at Akron Children's have taken something that should be scary and terrifying and made it this amazing badge of honor to recognize the superhero that he is," Codner told CNN. "We couldn't think of a better thing to contribute to and spend time trying to help raise funds to ensure that all kids have access to the same amazing experience as Andrew has had at Akron Children's."

Codner participated in the race as part of the virtual FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay, which replaced the hospital's yearly marathon due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the virtual marathon guidelines, runners can race at any location or pace, and Codner decided to run his marathon around the hospital to spotlight their work.

On the day of the race, Codner wrote Andrew's name on the top of his running shoes to keep him motivated. Friends and family were stationed outside the hospital to cheer him on, in a course that took 5 hours and 35 laps to complete. His son was even able to run with him across the finish line and award him a medal.

"To see him running and doing that last lap with me was just incredible," Codner said.

By the end of the run, Codner had raised 10 times more than his initial goal of $1,000, according to a hospital press release. The fund has reached over $13,000 in donations and has expanded its window until November 30.

Dr. Megan Sampson, a pediatric oncologist who has treated Andrew at the hospital, praises the Codner family.

"It just amazed me that during this scary time that he was thinking about doing this," said Sampson, referring to Codner's run and the attention he has drawn to the hospital's work.

Andrew's prognosis is good and he's responding well to the treatment he has received, but he still has a long way to go, Sampson says.

(10/28/2020) Views: 615 ⚡AMP
by Kelsie Smith
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Akron Marathon Race Series

Akron Marathon Race Series

The marquee event of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay presented by First Energy receives a fresh new look ! Runners will experience an unforgettable start inside the historic grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens before taking an exclusive foot tour of the City of Akron. The Goodyear Half...

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For the first time ever, Akron Marathon will be offering virtual race this year

For the first time ever, the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon will take place as a “virtual race experience” this year, said Anne Bitong, president and CEO of the Akron Marathon Charitable Corp.

“We certainly wish we could have hosted a physical race, but in the information-gathering process, we asked ourselves if we could host the same type of world-class event and we knew that we couldn’t,” she said. “We knew that given the environment and given safety issues and concerns, the experience would have to be completely different. And we are in the business of offering a great experience. … So, we are doing our best in terms of trying to make it unique and putting the Akron Marathon spin on what that virtual experience might look like.”

According to Bitong, the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, the Half Marathon, the Team Relay and related events, including the Health & Fitness Expo and the Kids Fun Run, scheduled for Sept. 25-26 will take place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The marathon is part of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, which includes two other summer races that were canceled this year.

“This is our 18th year of putting on our races and our first year of putting on a virtual race,” she said. “In our case, a virtual race is a race that you can run, at your pace, from home or any location. Runners — whether for the marathon, the half marathon or relay — will run their distance and then upload their race results through their favorite app or tracking device to our registration platform. And then we will deliver a personal results page and a finisher’s certificate for their participation in our event. [Participants] can run their virtual race beginning on Sept. 26, which was the original date, through Oct. 31.”

Since making the decision, Bitong said the Akron Marathon Charitable Corp., which organizes the race series, has been “overwhelmed with positive feedback from our running community.”

“We’re just thrilled that people understand the position that we’re in, and we’re happy that we can support them,” she said. “We have about 2,000 people who are registered. We were expecting 10,000 under normal circumstances, but we have people who are still trying to decide between doing the virtual race or deferring their entry until next year.”

According to marathon officials, runners who have already registered will have the option to keep their registrations and participate virtually, donate their registration fees or defer their entry to a future race.

One unique aspect of this year’s virtual Akron Marathon is what Bitong called the “blue line in a box.”

“That’s the race kit that we’re going to be sending out to all of our virtual race participants in advance of the race,” she said. “That way, the shirts and medals and those types of things they would typically get race weekend will be prepared and they will have everything they would need to support them on their virtual race. Our concept of the ‘blue line box’ is that it has a subscription box feel.”

The box’s contents will vary for each of the events, Bitong said.“For example, with the marathon, you’re going to get your race bib, special offers from our partners, an ASICS short-sleeve tech shirt, ASICS custom Run Akron socks and custom Goodr sunglasses, which are really popular with runners,” she stated. “And then you’ll get your course support nutrition that you typically would get on the race day, as well as your finisher medal. For the half marathon, they would get similar items, but not the Goodr glasses. And the relay runners would get the bib, the shirt and the finisher’s medal.”

Bitong said the items will make note of the uniqueness of this year’s virtual event. “We kind of went to the drawing board in terms of the runner premiums this year,” she said. “For many of the items, such as the shirts, we had the blanks on order, but the design is going to be unique and commemorate this year as a virtual race experience.”

Another big change for this year’s event, Bitong noted, is an earlier registration deadline than normal. “Typically, registration for our event is open through September. We usually close it the week before the race,” she said. “This year, we’re only keeping registration open through June 30. That way, we have a great idea of how many people are planning to take advantage of the virtual experience. And from our perspective, we have to prepare all of the blue line box kits and get all of them stuffed and out in advance. There’s a lot of detail behind getting those ready to go and make sure they hit homes prior to race day.”

The registration costs this year are $105 for the marathon, $90 for the half marathon or $50 per team member for the relay race.“We do have caps on the events. The cap for the full marathon is 1,000, the cap for the half marathon is 3,800, and the cap for the relay race is 4,000,” Bitong said. “We certainly encourage anyone who maybe was intimidated to run in the Akron Marathon to take this opportunity to run virtually and be part of the running community.”

(06/25/2020) Views: 700 ⚡AMP
by Sean Patrick
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Akron Marathon Race Series

Akron Marathon Race Series

The marquee event of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay presented by First Energy receives a fresh new look ! Runners will experience an unforgettable start inside the historic grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens before taking an exclusive foot tour of the City of Akron. The Goodyear Half...

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71-year old Jeannie Rice, Finishes Akron Half Marathon in Record Time for her age group clocking 1:37:07

The second race in the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series included a record-setting performance. 

The Goodyear Half Marathon and 10K began at the normally closed-to-the-public Goodyear test track Saturday morning. When the course ended at Goodyear's Global Headquarters, 71-year old Jeannie Rice of Mentor unofficiallly broke the world record for her age group with a half-marathon time of 1:37:07. 

"And I see the times and I know I had it. I finish and I told a couple ladies who were there, ‘I did it! I made a world record!’ It was a great feeling."

Rice said she's been running for 35 years and has never been impeded by an injury. She's completed a number of races and will run in the full Akron marathon in September. She typically runs 15 miles a week but has upped that to 60 miles per week to prepare for the marathon. 

More than 2,500 athletes, both runners and walkers, participated in the event, which was sold out. Dylan Garritano from Akron and Emma McCarron from Mansfield were the respective winners in the men’s and women’s races, finishing at 1:10:20 and 1:23:12. The 10k titles were taken by Nathaniel Hunter Moore from Uniontown and Lydia Hochstein from Cleveland finishing in 33:14 and 39:13.

The Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k welcomed runners from 25 states, with ages 11 to 80 competing.

(08/13/2019) Views: 2,360 ⚡AMP
by Sarah Taylor
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Well done Jeannie Rice. 7:25 per mile pace for 13.1 miles at any age is a good time but for us 71-year-olds, that is amazing. 8/14 9:45 am


Akron Marathon Race Series

Akron Marathon Race Series

The marquee event of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, & Team Relay presented by First Energy receives a fresh new look ! Runners will experience an unforgettable start inside the historic grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens before taking an exclusive foot tour of the City of Akron. The Goodyear Half...

more...
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