There is something about hitting a new milestone that - in spite of my ankles protesting the new mile I introduced to them - had me feeling elated all day Saturday. A lot of us moved up to 4 miles on the training plan - just 1 mile shy of where the 8k runners and walkers will need to be on June 24. We are a wonderfully diverse group in age and fitness level, and I love seeing people celebrating their own personal goals - from Cortney, who ran nearly 7 miles, to those for whom walking 1 or 2 miles is the result of some hard work. We are getting there together!

It was our first date at Green's Boettler and Southgate parks, and I heard a lot of positive comments. It's a wonderful environment, peaceful and scenic. Southgate offered a few (and necessary) hills for our training while Boettler's paved, level route was a nice break. Akron Marathon Executive Director Anne Bitong and her husband Jerry marked our route through the spaghetti paths of Southgate with flags so we wouldn't get lost, and thank goodness for that. I know as I ran further and further into the woods and fields, I lost all sense of what direction I was going and which forks in the road to take on my own! Those flags kept me from ending up in Hartville.

We also welcomed a special guest that I know inspired many of our walkers. That's because Dawn Edmiston WALKS the half marathon, something many of us didn't know was possible before joining Blue Line Beginners. She's done nearly a dozen since first taking up the sport four years ago. Her first half marathon was in Cleveland in 2013, when she walked at a pace just below 16 minutes per mile. She's shaved a few minutes off that pace as she's gotten better, but 16 sounds like a great goal for any of our new long distance walkers hoping to nab their first half marathon medal later this year.

(Dawn Edmiston talks to BLB about half marathon. Photo by Karen Schiely.)

Dawn talked about how much fun it is to be in the back of the pack with other walkers, who come to know each other across several events, forming friendships and supporting each other.

Anne passed out more $5 coupons for those who are ready to register for the August 10k and half marathon (the second event in our Akron Marathon Race Series) so if you weren't on site to get one, write me at akronrun@thebeaconjournal.com and I'll send you the promotion code.

Good luck with your training this week and we'll see everyone in Green again next Saturday!

- Paula

(Deanna, Kris and Jim running through Southgate. Photo by Karen Schiely.)