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Akron Marathon Blue Line Beginners

93 BLB's at first meetup

By Paula Schleis Published: April 9, 2017

What snow? It looks like we took to heart last week's lesson that the only weather-related excuse for skipping training is thunder and lightening. So while there were still patches of snow on the ground, the skies were blue and beckoning Saturday morning. Of 121 hopeful Blue Line Beginners who signed on to our summer-long adventure, 93 snubbed the chilly temps to make it to our first meetup at Firestone Metro Park. 


What a friendly and supportive group we are, too. Akron Marathon Executive Director Anne Bitong led us on a brisk 1.5 mile group walk, where everyone fell into pairs. We had the chance to chat on the trail and I saw some new friendship's forming. What a great start.

Next week, Anne and her marathon staff intend to break us up into three groups: Walkers, runners, and those who plan to alternate a walking/running style. Pick whichever group you are comfortable joining when you arrive for our outing. If you find your initial choice is too ambitious or not challenging enough, you can switch groups the following week.

Also, the question of parking was settled. With the nearby second parking lot, there is no reason we can't all train together. So Saturday's meetup will be at the 200 E. Warner Road parking lot at 9 a.m., with extra parking available right around the corner on Harrington. If there are any questions, skip down the blog to that nifty map I posted last week.

Our guest speaker Saturday was Tammy Polen, co-owner of Vertical Runner, a running store in Wooster. Tammy shared her personal story, including the fact that she and husband Brian owned the store a full two years before she decided to try running herself! Now her specialty is the half marathon. Tammy showed us a couple of shoes - the normal variety for folks with, well, normal feet, and another type for those who need extra support. There's a huge difference, as she showed us how the normal foam-based shoe bends back on itself while the firmer shoe does not give.


Here's a video of Tammy talking about the difference: 

Vertical Runner's website is here:

If Wooster is a bit far (though it can be a nice day trip if you pick the right day and have lunch there), there is another running store that might be closer to your home called Second Sole. There are stores in Medina, Canton, and Massillon as well as Akron's Merriman Valley. Learn more here:

Finally, Anne introduced us to the 8k Training Plan and the Half Marathon Training Plan for those who want to run the 8k in June, and those who want to run a half marathon later in the year. Both groups need to start those plans now. Unfortunately, I gave away my last half marathon plan before I could take a picture of it to post. We'll have more copies on Saturday. But I was smart enough to snap a picture of the 8k.


If you're running the 8k, you'll want to get started on this. (I had to ask what "cross" was. Yup, I'm a newbie! Cross means biking, gym work, walking - something other than running. Where it says walk, choose a time your comfortable with and expand it a little each week. Personally, I started with 30 minutes.)

We'd like to post a weekly Q&A here, so as you go about your training this week and come up with questions, drop me a line at so I can get an answer. I promise you, if you think of a question, someone else has thought of it, too. There are no silly questions!

Check back here tomorrow for a weekly feature we are going to call Mugshot Mondays! It's time to start meeting our Blue Line Beginners and find out what's inspiring them to be a part of our team.

- Paula


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