Friday, 13 April 2018 13:46

Area Runners Prepare for Boston Marathon

Several hundred runners from Ohio will be among the more than 30,000 taking part in this year's Boston Marathon. Jasen talked to second time Boston runner Scott Hinkle of Loudonville and first time Boston entrant Lindsey Beachy of Glenmont about what it takes to qualify for the big race, getting the official word from Boston, and their experience in getting ready to run one of the most famous races in the world.

Published in Jasen Sokol

"Slow down to go faster."

As a fan of auto racing, I've heard that phrase a lot. Don't be so aggressive on certain parts of the race track and your lap times will actually get faster. It turns out the same is true in running.

Over the last couple of weeks, Akron Marathon race director Brian Polen has been slowly adding more running to the run/walks in my training program. At first, I was running as fast as I could for the one minute at a time. Needless to say, "fast as I could" wasn't so fast by the end. For the first mile or so I felt fine, but after that I would notice my running pace falling off. By about the 1.5 mile marker, my walking pace was completely gone as well. As the two mile mark approached, I wasn't sure how I was going to get to the end of the workout.

It took a few times running myself into the ground to realize that I had better back off my pace a bit so I could make it as far as I was supposed to go. But once I did, not only did I feel better but I saw noticeable improvement in my overall pace.

Lt. Dan wasn't lying

In the film Forrest Gump, Lt. Dan reminds Forrest and Bubba about the importance of socks. He was talking about the Vietnam War, of course, but I've found that socks really do make a big difference in running too. When I was trying on shoes at Vertical Runner of Wooster, I couldn't get anything to fit right and not slide around too much until I had on compression socks. There are a bunch of different brands, but the best ones are designed to help people avoid blisters and wick away moisture. The ones I bought cost around $15 per pair, but it was worth it. 

Better with friends

In talking to people about my plan to run the Akron Half Marathon, I frequently hear things like "how can you run for that long by yourself? won't it get boring?"

I can't answer that question yet, but I can tell you it's a lot more fun when you get to run with other people. I did my longest workout yet (3.5 miles) with Brian Polen and Lauren Toole from the Marathon staff. Being able to talk with people during the run helped me forget how much work was ahead of me, and I actually felt better than I had at the end of most of my runs in spite of the distance.

Not too late to start

If you still want to get involved with this year's Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series but haven't started training yet, that's okay! This is week one of the Blue Line Beginners program for 2018, and the workouts consist only of 15-20 minute walks, run/walks, or runs. The group will be meeting Saturday at 8:00 a.m. at Botzum Trailhead, 2928 Riverview Road, Akron, for their weekly group run. Members of the Akron Marathon staff are usually in attendance, and there are frequent guest speakers to address various topics related to running.

Follow Jasen's journey on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Strava. For more information or to register for the races, go to www.akronmarathon.org.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Wednesday, 28 March 2018 17:45

AUDIO: Blue Line Beginners Set For Year Two

It started as a Beacon Journal project, became a year-round organization, and is now ready to welcome its next batch of running newbies.

Blue Line Beginners will hold its first meeting of 2018 for new members on Saturday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m. at the Main Branch of the Akron Summit County Public Library in Downtown Akron. The organization, founded by Beacon Journal reporter Paula Schleis, aims to take people who have never run a race before and train them to run the races of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. 

Schleis and Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen joined Jasen to talk about the program and how just about anyone can get involved.

 

Published in Jasen Sokol

I'm well into my second week of training for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. While I'm nowhere near ready to hit the Blue Line yet, I've already made a few observations:

  • The right pair of shoes helps. Brian Polen, the race director for the Akron Marathon and my running coach, brought me to his store to get fitted for a proper pair of running shoes. At Vertical Runner of Wooster, Brian was able to watch how I walk and recommend shoes that would correct my stride. That said, if you have a pair of athletic shoes already you have all you need to get started. Which brings me to my next point...
  • Just get moving. I had to tell myself that a few times this week. To say the weather this week was less than ideal is an understatement. I've only had one workout so far that didn't involve snow or ice. It's been in the 30s or lower for most of the last week. But if you wear a few layers, the cold isn't so bad. I figure I'll be missing this weather when it's 90 degrees in August.
  • Start slow. Slow and steady might not win the race, but I'm just trying to get to the finish line so I'm fine with that! I have yet to do a workout that actually involves running. Instead, Brian has me doing brisk walks at increasing distances. Despite that, my pace is still getting quicker each time out.
  • We're lucky to be in Akron. I live halfway up a pretty steep hill, so my options for places to run close to home that don't involve a ridiculous climb are a bit limited. Luckily we have the Towpath Trail, the jogging trail in the Sand Run Metro Park, and a bunch of other great places to run in Akron that are not only less hilly, but also absolutely beautiful.

We're less than 200 days away from the Akron Marathon, but that doesn't mean it's too late to get started on your own Blue Line journey! One of the cool things about the Akron Marathon Race Series is that they have different distances at different races throughout the summer, so if a half marathon or a relay leg seems too daunting you can start with something as short as a 1 mile and work your way up from there.

The week ahead: Two more brisk walks at longer distances... hopefully with less snow!

Follow Jasen's journey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Strava. For more information or to register for the races, go to www.akronmarathon.org.

 

Published in Jasen Sokol
Saturday, 23 September 2017 12:34

Winners Crowned At Akron Marathon

More than 9,000 runners from 46 states and 12 countries took to the Blue Line in unseasonably warm conditions Saturday for the 15th running of the Akron Marathon.

Blair Teal of Charlotte, North Carolina avenged his runner up finish in last year's marathon by winning in 2:23:39. Verrelle Wyatt of Akron came in second, just over a minute behind Teal.

In the women's marathon, Emma McCarron of Mansfield ran down eventual runner up Shawanna White in the closing miles to win in 2:52:29. McCarron's sister Grace finished third after the two ran together for much of the morning.

Experience beat youth in the men's half marathon, as 45 year old Kevin Castille of Baton Rouge, Louisiana won in 1:05:16, just over a minute ahead of Medina's Mick Iacofano.

Northeast Ohio runners swept the podium in the women's half marathon. Liz Weiler of Cleveland won in 1:20:09, less than a minute ahead of Beachwood's Amy Gannon. Marissa Baranauskas of Akron finished third.

Click here to hear from the marathon and half marathon champions

The male, female, and mixed team relays were won by One 26.2 Sticker (2:54:58), Five Fast Femme Fatale Freak (3:07:46), and George's Farmer Boys and Girls (2:52:43), respectively.

Over the last two years, the Akron Marathon Race Series has raised nearly $900,000 for title sponsor Akron Children's Hospital.

Top Finishers

Men's Marathon
1. Blair Teal, Charlotte, N.C., 2:23:39
2. Verrelle Wyatt, Akron, 2:24:57
3. Zachary Hoagland, Hatfield, Pa., 2:27:47
4. Brent Martin, Wooster, 2:28:11
5. Israel Merkle, Akron, 2:30:52

Women's Marathon
1. Emma McCarron, Mansfield, 2:52:29
2. Shawanna White, Columbia, S.C., 2:53:27
3. Grace McCarron, Mansfield, 2:54:11
4. Barbara Lorson, Orrville, 3:02:36
5. Jenny Robinson, Cuyahoga Falls, 3:07:23

Masters Men's Marathon
1. Dustin Sprague, Kettering, 2:43:05
2. Francesco Arato, Bolingbrook Ill., 2:48:15
3. Orinthal Striggles, Columbia S.C., 2:48:15

Masters Women's Marathon
1. Dolores Valencia, Chino Hills, Calif., 3:09:46
2. Kristy Kenna, Akron, 3:11:29
3. Teresa Ferguson, Akron, 3:11:46

Men's Half Marathon
1. Kevin Castille, Baton Rouge, La., 1:05:16
2. Mick Iacofano, Medina, 1:06:20
3. Ryan Roush, Canfield, 1:08:14

Women's Half Marathon
1. Liz Weiler, Cleveland, 1:20:09
2. Amy Gannon, Beachwood, 1:20:58
3. Marissa Baranauskas, Akron, 1:23:02

Masters Men's Half Marathon
1. Jason Lafave, Sanford, Mich., 1:15:08
2. Ken Richendollar, Maumee, 1:17:17
3. Mike Seymour, Akron, 1:19:10

Masters Women's Half Marathon
1. Beth Woodward, Orrville, 1:26:19
2. Brenda Hodge, York, Pa., 1:28:48
3. Michelle Farr, Medina, 1:29:22

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(Akron Marathon) The FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay celebrated its 15th year along the Blue Line today with a brand new route and warm temperatures. What started as a modest marathon with a field of 3,775 participants has thrived and grown over 300 percent in the last 15 years into a major, first-rate, and signature event within the city of Akron.

"The overall feeling of this race weekend is second to none – from the starting line to the Finisher Festival. The on-course atmosphere was very special this year, with entertainment throughout the course and loads of enthusiastic spectators alongside our Akron Children's hero patients and their families cheering on all the participants," said Shawn Lyden, executive vice president of Akron Children's. "This year more than 13,000 took to the streets during our three race weekends, experiencing the best of what this city has to offer. We couldn't be more proud to serve as the title beneficiary for this great series."

The festivities kicked off Thursday night with two-time Olympian and world champion, Kara Goucher being honored with the 2017 Akron Marathon Ambassador Award. More than 1,000 kids ages 12 and under joined in the fun on Friday night at the Kids 1-Mile Fun Run, presented by Signet Jewelers. After offering inspiration to the runners at the Health and Fitness Expo presented by Summa Health and SummaCare on Friday, Goucher joined the runners in Saturday's Half Marathon event, and earned cheers from the more than 100,000 race spectators there to rally their favorite runners toward the finish line.

"Fifteen years is no easy feat. Through many course and venue changes, adding distances along the way, and expansion into a race series, we are so proud to be hosting the 15th annual event. We are thrilled to report that 143,165 runners have run this event throughout the 15 years," said Steve Marks, founder and chairman of the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation. "Although so much has happened and so much has changed over the years – it still seems like it wasn't too long ago that we were doing this for the first time. The continuity of the having an amazing city like Akron as a partner and having the support of many loyal sponsors through the years, along with one of the best race staffs out there, is a big part of our success."

Blair Teal of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Emma McCarron of Mansfield, found that success on Saturday morning and were the first to cross the finish line inside Canal Park Stadium for the marathon, with respective times of 2:23:39 and 2:52:29. While Kevin Castille of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Liz Weiler from Cleveland, took top places in the half marathon.

The runner-up in the men's marathon was Verrelle Wyatt of Akron, finishing with a time of 2:24:57, and Zachary Hoagland of Hatfield, Pennsylvania, crossing the line third at 2:27:47. Shawanna White of Columbia, South Carolina finished in second on the women's side with a time of 2:53:27, followed by Grace McCarron from Mansfield in 2:54:11.

Top men's half marathon finishers included Medina's Mick Iacofano and Ryan Roush from Canfield with equally fast times of 1:06:20 and 1:08:14. Beachwood's Amy Gannon took second in the women's half marathon finishing in 1:20:58, with Akron's own Marissa Baranauskas, crossing in third at 1:23:02.

The top finishers in the masters (40 years and older) marathon competition were, Dustin Sprague of Kettering and Dolores Valencia of Chino Hills, California, on the women's side. For the half marathon, the top masters were Jason Lafave of Sanford, Michigan and Beth Woodward of Orrville. (Complete winner information can be found at the end of release.)

The marathon relay didn't disappoint with fast times and wins turned in by Five Guys, One 26.2 Sticker for the five-person male team relay in 2:54:58, Five Fast Femme Fatale Freak was the top women's squad with a finishing time of 3:07:46. A time of 2:53:43 was clocked by the top mixed competition team – George's Farmer Boys and Girls.

For the third year, prize money was awarded to the top three men and women to finish the marathon who are Ohio residents. Those top winners were, Verrelle Wyatt, Akron and Emma McCarron of Mansfield.

"FirstEnergy is very proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Akron Marathon, a marquee event for our region that draws some of the world's top runners to compete just steps from our headquarters," said Charles Jones, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy Corp. "We have nearly 2,500 employees who live and work in the Akron area, many of whom volunteer or run in the Akron Marathon every year. This event showcases the city and we're pleased to be a part of it."

2017 served as the third year for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. The National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile was held on June 24 and the Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k was run on August 12. More than 1,400 runners completed the series and participated in all three races this year.

"Fifteen years after the first race, our mission and focus remains the same: providing a world-class marathon and other events that promote health and fitness, stimulate the local economy, galvanize the community and benefit charitable organizations," said Anne Bitong, executive director of the Akron Marathon. "With more than 9,000 runners this weekend from 46 states and 12 countries, nearly $900,000 raised for Akron Children's Hospital during our two-year series partnership and the smiling faces from our volunteers, runners and the spectators today, I think it is safe to say it was another successful year for the Akron Marathon."

 

Published in Local

The Akron Marathon will be under way this weekend as runners from all over country and the world will look to put on display their will, determination, and athletic ability. Some runners will look to set their own personal marathon records while others will look to break world records. For Helen McWilliams she has a paticular Guinness Record in her sights. McWilliams sat down with Jasen Sokol to discuss her ambition to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest time running a marathon while dressed as a chef.    

Published in Jasen Sokol