On Saturday we bid farewell to Firestone Metro Park, which many of us will remember as being the birthplace of our Akron Marathon Race Series adventure. It was a fantastic three weeks, great weather every time and I think we all made some new friends.

Gosh, remember that first week when we all walked the 1.2 mile loop? Well yesterday, on week 3, our runners ran for 3 miles, our run/walkers logged a good 2.5 miles at a 15 minute pace, and our walkers - well, they were all over the place, some of them telling me they covered more than 3 miles! And we've still got 9 weeks till our first race on June 24. Imagine how much we can do between now and then.



Now it's time for a change of scenery. This Saturday at 9 a.m., we'll give our northern Summit County members a driving break and take our group meetup to Stow's Silver Springs Park. That will be our home for the next three weeks.

Stow Mayor Sara Kline had this message for us: "Welcome to Stow! All of you are inspiring and I am proud you have chosen to do part of your training for the Akron Marathon in Stow. We wish you all the best as you work toward achieving your goals. Know that you have many people cheering you on and sending you good energy. Good luck!"

We will park at Bow Wow Beach, the dog park within the park. Use the GPS address 5027 Stow Road, but there are two drives. Make sure you use the entrance that has this sign:



When you enter the park, make a right turn the first chance you get and that will take you to the Bow Wow Beach parking lot. There should be plenty of parking there for all of us. On this map, the entrance is in green, the parking is red, the secondary parking is yellow:



From the parking lot, we will take a small footbridge onto the Hike and Bike Trail, which continues through town and into Portage County, so there is plenty of room for us to stretch out.

By the end of our group outing yesterday, I noticed we were scattered all over the park as our various ability levels separated us. I just wanted to reassure you there is nothing wrong with this. It's kind of my whole point of celebrating the Akron Marathon Race Series as an "everyman" event. We are all chasing our individual goals. I was well behind my run/walk group, but that was okay. I got my 2.2 miles in, and that's 2.2 miles more than I could do when we started. I felt great!

If you feel like you're ready for the run/walk group but aren't sure, just line up behind the run/walkers and in front of the walkers. Keep up as long as you can, then walk the rest of the way. Likewise, if you feel like you want to give running a try, line up at the back of the runners but in front of the run/walkers. Run what you can then switch your routine.

Don't forget: You woke up in the morning, you put on your shoes, you drove to a trail and you got moving. On your very worst day, you are still ahead of the game. See you all in Stow on Saturday!

- Paula