What are you going to be doing exactly one week from today?

You'll be picking up your official race day packet, thatís what!

Hereís everything you need to know:

Drive to InfoCision Stadium between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, June 23. Enter at Gate 1 at the corner of Exchange and Union streets (375 E. Exchange St. on your GPS). Thatís where we met the day of our trial run. Park in the same parking lot where we parked that day, with the entrance across the street from Taco Bell.



Once you get inside, youíll need to make two stops.

The first stop will be to pick up a packet that includes your race bib. The envelope will include safety pins that you will use to attach it to the front of your shirt on race day. To get that packet, you will need to give them your bib number. This will be sent to you in an email from the Akron Marathon before you go, so watch for it. BUT if you donít have it when you get there, there will be a board with all participant names and bib numbers. You can look yourself up. Once you know your bib number, you will go to the table that matches the range that your bib number is in.

If you cannot pick up your own packet, you may send a friend or family member who will be asked to verify your contact info. Also, no dogs are allowed inside the stadium so don't bring them along for this errand.

At the bib packet table you can also ask for a gear check bag if you want one. This is a clear plastic bag that allows you to check in things you donít want to carry on your run, and then retrieve when you return from the race.

After your bib packet is in hand, youíll go to a second area where they are passing out the tech shirts and, for the 8k participants, the commemorative pint glass. You chose a shirt size when you registered. That size will be noted on your bib packet, and you will show that to collect your shirt.

Take the tech shirt and pint glass home and leave them there for race day. While lots of people will no doubt be wearing their shirts on race day, that's a mistake. Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen said itís not wise to wear anything that you havenít worn during training Ė from your socks to your underwear! It's not a good day to be experimenting with anything.

And you wonít need that drinking glass: Your beer or rootbeer on race day will come in disposable cups.

After you get your bib packet and goodies, take a look around. The finish line should be all decked out and the Akron Marathon lead vehicle will be on site. Take some pictures, walk around and shake off those pre-race jitters. Outside Gate 1, right where we lined up for our trial run, you'll see the pace signs where we will be lining up on race day. Find the sign that matches your pace. Walkers, you'll be lining up at the very back.

If you absolutely canít get to Infocision Stadium on Friday, you can get your packet between 7 and 8 a.m. on race day. The staff asks that you do this as a last resort because they usually have their hands full with the out-of-town runners.

Now, about that bib. Thereís a lot of stuff going on there. Come back tomorrow and Iíll break it down. I'll also tell you why you might want to use that gear check bag, and what you don't want to put in there.

- Paula