If you're wondering how you might do on the actual 1 mile or 8k course come June 24, you won't have to wait to find out. The Akron Marathon staff has arranged for us to take a spin on the actual course route this Saturday!

On our 8k Training Plan, Saturday marks our first 5 mile run/walk, so the timing is perfect.

We're even going to start at the very same time as the actual race, which means you'll need to set your alarm clocks a little earlier. Be on site at 8:15 a.m. for warm ups and a pep talk by Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen, and we'll be stepping off at exactly 8:30 a.m.

We will be meeting outside Infocision Stadium, just east of downtown Akron, at the corner of Brown/Union/Exchange streets. Use 361 S. Union St. on your GPS. We are waiting for approval for parking, so you'll need to check the blog in a couple of days for those instructions.

On race day we'll be in the streets, but this Saturday we'll have to stay on the sidewalks. We'll be crossing several intersections, but Saturday morning traffic downtown should be pretty light. Please use caution and be less concerned with pace and more concerned with finishing your distance.

Speaking of pace, the course will be marked to accomodate our diverse range so don't worry if you find yourself in the back of the pack. Polen is also bringing along a couple of pace leaders - one at a 15 min/mile, and one at a 18 min/mile. The 18-minute mile pace is significant because that is the pace you need to be walking or running the 8k to beat the time when course support is withdrawn and roads are reopened on race day. If you are slower than an 18-minute mile, that simply means on race day, you'll need to move to the sidewalk and make your way to the stadium on your own. (For 1 mile walkers, course support ends at 30 minutes.) This weekend will be a wonderful opportunity to see where you are in your training with three weeks left.

The first mile of the 8k is the 1 mile event, so our 1 mile runners and walkers can end their day when they finish the Brown Street loop. The 8k runners and walkers will continue another four miles through UA neighborhoods, to Broadway, Market and Main downtown, and then back to the stadium.

There will be portable toilets at key locations on race day, but not this Saturday. There is a gas station across the street from our starting line. Otherwise, if you need a bathroom you'll need to keep an eye out for any open businesses along the way :)

So in review:

1) Next group meetup is this Saturday, June 3, at 8:15 a.m.

2) Meet at 361 S. Union Street, the corner outside Infocision Stadium. (We are NOT meeting in Green.)

3) Watch blog later this week for parking directions.

As always, if you have questions I haven't answered don't hesitate to write me at akronrun@thebeaconjournal.com. Saturday is a rare and special opportunity for us. I want you to have all the info you need to take advantage of it!

- Paula