UPDATE: With 180 names on my BLB spreadsheet, I was very worried I might miss someone who finished the race yesterday, and I did. Congratulations to Ann Oldaker, one of our 8k participants. WTG, Ann!

Saturday was epic, from the electricity coursing through all of the runners in the corral at the starting line, to that feeling of breaking through the entrance of InfoCision Stadium and seeing Akron Marathon Director Anne Bitong beckoning us. I can't imagine a more perfect day for 88 Blue Line Beginners whose 12 weeks of training culminated in a sweet - if sometimes brutal - journey to the finish line!

Read about our shared experience here: www.ohio.com/news/break-news/blue-line-beginners-celebrate-crossing-finish-line-at-akron-race-1.776571. Beacon photographer Phil Masturzo did a great job of capturing the moment.

Then come back Tuesday for Karen's Korner, including more photos by Beacon photographer Karen Schiely, who has been embedded with the group and had to put away her camera at the start of the race so she could run her own 8k!

Congrats to the following Blue Line Beginners who finished their first Akron Marathon Race Series event:

In the 1 Mile:

Lisa Balough, Jessica Broska, Ceil Cohen, Patricia Cormany, Meredith Davis, Mary Flohr, Paula Kmet, Steve Kmet, Mary Krein, Kim McMahan, Denise Monea, Sherry Morgan, Annie Nanez, Connie Pacanovsky, Carrie Webb, Linda Weyrick

In the 8k:

Deanna Albertson, Nancy Arvay, Georgena Austin, Debra Baglia, Amy Baird, Jeff Balough, Cortney Benjamin, Beth Bickett, Nina Biscan, Norma Boston, Joanne Branham, Carol Byers

Holly Carder, Nancy Coerver, Heidi Cohen, Sheila Dillick, Daniel Doty, Char Flohr, Diane Fuller, Abby Gentsch, Debbi Gertz, Robert E. Gill, Marla Goch, Joanne Grosko, Greg Gwinnup

Maureen Haas, Tracey Hlucky, Karen Jackson, MaryJo Jones, Kris Kienzl, Elizabeth Kinsella, Cathy Kirgesner, Darlene Kirland, Jennifer Kline, Lynn Kline, Denise Kraft, Gail Kuglar, Marcia Linberger

Cindi Martin, Marla McClintic, Collin McGrath, Leslie Meadows, Mike Meneer, Jim Merklin, Joe Merklin, Mary Jo Mihocka, Jim Mitchell, Ann Moorehart, Ann Oldaker, Sandy Perch, Anita Zona-Peters, Steve Postma

Antoinette Rege, Janet Rice, Monique Sanders, Darla Sanders, Karen Schiely, Loretta Schleis, Kathy Scott, Penny Spickard

Diane Teodecki, Jim Thomas, LeAnn Tipton, Cindy Turner, Kris Wagner, Jessica Walsh, Marcia Weidknecht, Ellen Weiss, Carolyn Wynn, Yu-Ling Yeh, Shelly Zackasee, Patti Zaubi.

(It was a challenge comparing my BLB roster with the results list so if I missed you, drop me a line at akronrun@thebeaconjournal.com and I'll update this blog and our Ohio.com story.)

I know there were several BLBers who couldn't run this race with us, but we are looking forward to you continuing your training and joining us for the August and September races.


I also wanted to offer congratulations to the winners of the National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile, the athletes who have trained much of their lives to be at the top of their game.

The top 8k finisher, Bobby Moldovan of Twinsburg, completed the course in 24:57. Becki Spellman, 2016 National Interstate 8k champ from Hilliard, retained her title with a finishing time of 29:30. Both set new event records.

See those times? The 1 Mile course closed at 30 minutes. That means they ran 5 miles before the last 1-milers were expected to be off the course!

Meanwhile, the first runner across the finish line was Craig Nieset of Chardon with a time of 4:47 in the one mile event. Faye Hellman of Philadelpha, PA was the first woman to finish the one mile, in 5:38. It took over 4 minutes for the starting line corral to empty its nearly 2,000 runners. That means Nieset was seconds away from the finish line before the final racers had even started!

Other award winners included Damon Blackford, Akron, 30:38 (menís masters 8k), Debbie Harding, Akron, 36:37 (women's masters 8k), Matt Cochran, Tallmadge, 5:36 (men's masters 1 mile), and Amanda Richardson, Copley, 7:35 (women's masters 1 mile.) Summit County owned those 40-and-up divisions.

Anyway, enjoy the day off, then our 8kers should get in at least a couple of 3-mile runs and a couple of cross-training days this week before our next group outing on Saturday. There, we'll be instructed on a new schedule for helping us ramp up to that Aug. 12 Goodyear 10k while keeping our 1-milers on track for other opportunities this summer.

Well done, BLB! Our story continues...

- Paula