Are you bringing loved ones to cheer you on in Saturday’s race? Here’s a guide just for them!

Dear friends and family:

We would love for you to be a part of our adventure as we tackle the first race in our summer-long Akron Marathon Race Series. After all, many of us are trying to get in shape for you -- so we can keep up with our grandkids, look good for our daughter’s upcoming wedding, take that Grand Canyon hiking trip with former classmates or beat our siblings at the annual family Thanksgiving flag football game!

From the starting line to the finish line, we've reserved a place for you right at our side at this weekend's National Interstate 8k and 1 Mile Race.

PARKING: Use the same parking lots as the runners. That’s Lot 36 (South Campus Parking Deck), Lot 39 (Exchange Street Parking Deck), and Lot 1 (East Campus Parking Deck.) Find them on the map below.

PRE-RACE GATHERING: Come hang out with the Blue Line Beginners before the race. Starting at 7:45 a.m., we’ll be right outside the front of InfoCision Stadium in Parking Lot 9 (the parking lot that runs along East Exchange Street, across from Taco Bell.) We’ll be there stretching and getting rid of the pre-race jitters. You’ll also be in the perfect spot when the race begins.

STARTING LINE: We will be taking off near Gate 1 right at the intersection of Union, Brown and Exchange streets. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. but if you’re loved one is walking the race, they will more likely cross the starting line around 8:37 a.m. After they disappear down Brown Street, walk one block east to Spicer Street. The runners are going to make a big loop and come back to the stadium there to complete 1 mile. Now you've got a choice to make:

* 1 MILE: If you are cheering on someone in the 1 mile race and want to watch them cross the finish line, forget the Spicer Street stop and go into the stadium at Gate 1. Head down onto the field using stairs at section 120 or 121 so you’ll be in position to see your friend or family member cross the finish line. If you wait till your loved one reaches the intersection of Spicer and Exchange and then turn to the stadium, you’ll have a difficult time making it to the finish line in time to take photos.

* 8K: If you are cheering on someone in the 8k race, you have two options.
1) After watching them pass down Spicer Street, take yourself into the stadium to enjoy the music and concessions while you wait for your loved one to arrive. If they are running, it will take another 40 to 50 minutes for them to reach the finish line (9:30 a.m. or so.) If they are walking, they’ll be are more likely to be arriving closer to 10 a.m. or later.
2) Another option for the fit and feisty is to walk down Exchange Street toward downtown and find a spot near the bridge that crosses Wolf Ledges Parkway. It’s probably a quarter-mile walk. The racers will turn off Broadway, cross the bridge to your left, then run around the bend and under the bridge on the way back to the stadium. They’ve only got one mile to go at that point. If your loved one is a runner, you might not beat them back to the stadium, so take that into consideration. If they are walking, you've got about 20 minutes to get back in time to watch the big finish.

POST-RACE GATHERING: Come join us toward the north end of the east concourse after the race. (From the front of the stadium, that would be to the back and right.)

CONCESSIONS: There are a limited amount of beer and rootbeer tickets available for spectator purchase starting at 9 a.m. They are $10, cash only, for three tickets. Identification is required to purchase beer. Also concessions are open on the west side concourse from 7 to 11 a.m.

BLUE WRISTBANDS: If you spot anyone wearing a blue silicone wristband, be our honorary cheering section, too! I promise you, we will deeply appreciate the support.

- Paula

Parking permitted in red-colored lots: