Some 300 soldiers will be running in the Akron Marathon — in the heat of Kuwait.
Akron’s iconic event, on Sept. 28 this year, will feature about 15,000 local participants, but a “shadow race” the same morning will kick off 6,600 miles away.
Members of the Ohio Army National Guard’s 371st Sustainment Brigade will run at the U.S. Army’s Camp Arifjan starting at 10:30 a.m. Akron time. That’s 5:30 p.m. in Kuwait, with temperatures expected to reach about 110 degrees, then cooling as the sun sets and the race continues until close to midnight.
“The Akron Marathon’s sponsorship of this race has really lifted the spirits of our brigade,” 1st Lt. Kevin McGee said. “Running builds resilience, and having a piece of our home delivered to us here in Kuwait adds to our soldiers’ optimism and connection.”
This is the second time the Akron Marathon has sponsored a shadow run for deployed soldiers, and race organizers have provided most of the perks that Akron-based runners will receive, including finisher medals, finisher certificates and special shadow run tech T-shirts.
Photos and videos of the race in Kuwait will intermingle with photos from the Akron race shown on the Canal Park stadium scoreboard on race day.
As in Akron, the soldiers can choose to run the full marathon, half marathon or a team relay.
“It’s wonderful to know that deployed soldiers will be able to run this race with us,” said Anne Bitong, Akron Marathon’s executive director. “And because of the technology that’s available to us through Canal Park stadium, the shadow run won’t seem that distant.”
Sponsors for the shadow run include the Akron Marathon, Brooks running apparel, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Maxwell Medals, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Power Media.