Running the Blue Line

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!


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