The Blue Line is a an actual line painted throughout Akron, Ohio that denotes the course of the Akron Marathon, held every September. I moved close to Akron about 6 years ago but have always considered myself a Clevelander and as such, have never made an effort to run any of the Akron races. I have a number of friends who swear by these races, stating they are truly great events and in some ways, a great alternative to the much bigger and older Cleveland Marathon which I have participated in the last few years.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a Blue Line Training run put on by a local running store and a running/fitness group. I saw the event pop up on Facebook a few times and knew a few people who would be attending. There were two distance options; 12 or 20 miles. The course would be semi supported and past participants reported a great turnout. Since I completed my long run earlier in the week, I now needed a semi long run and realized the 12 miler would fit perfectly. I shared the event with my friend Rachel and before long, a number of other friends decided to join and I had a big group meet up planned.
The event did not start until 7am so it was really nice to “sleep in” before a weekend run as my typical long runs start around 5am. I arrived in Akron with plenty of time to spare. I quickly ran in to some friends and talked about the course. Again the consensus was that it was a beautiful and enjoyable run.
My legs were still a bit trashed from my rough 17 miler two days before so I planned to take it easy and just go at a comfortable pace. I had no where to be so I thought I’d just enjoy myself and meet people also running for fun. I naturally fell in sync with Rachel who I trained with for the Cleveland Marathon in 2015 and always really enjoy running with. She was joined by some of her running friends who I got to know a long the way. Incidentally, one of the women who joined was a pretty hard core ultra runner with a great knowledge of the local trails. I spent some time picking her brain about the course of an upcoming trail marathon.
I have to say, I loved this course. It didn’t follow the entire course precisely (it was only a 12 mile run so we had to cut a few corners) but I really enjoyed running through this new to me city. I loved the big historical buildings, running through the campus of the University of Akron, the sculptures and landscaping of the local medical center, and the bridges. I was really surprised- I never knew what a beautiful and historic city Akron is. Suffice it to say, my small mind was broadened a bit that day!
The event itself was also really nicely planned out. There was a water stop with both water and powerade and some tents at the end with more water plus watermelon. I thought that was a really nice touch for what was essentially a big group training run. I met up with Amy at the “finish line” after she had completed her longest ever run-17 miles and we caught up for a bit before heading out.
I am so glad I went out to this run. While I love running trails, I also really like exploring new routes through urban areas and this really opened my eyes to what really is a great city. I’ll definitely consider the Akron Marathon which I never really gave much thought too prior to this run. Can’t wait to be able to run the Blue Line in it’s entirety!