Someone up there must be looking out for us. After overnight rain and forecasts that predicted thunderstorms all morning, we drove through showers to our training destination and found Silver Springs Park in Stow had an invisible dome over it. Not a drop of rain for our warm up, our 2- and 3-mile runs and walks, our post-run stretches, and my favorite part - the post-run socializing in the parking lot.

It was fun coming home to find other BLB teammates reporting their alternative walks and runs on Facebook, by text and by email. Some are on vacation; some opted for an early-morning run to beat the rain; some made plans for a group run on a dry Sunday. I hope you feel that collective energy and it inspires you as much as it inspires me!

In spite of the weather concerns, there were 44 of us who made it to Stow Saturday morning, a number that included three Akron Marathon staffers. So it seemed a good time to call attention to something that might not have been completely obvious: The Akron Marathon staff is donating their Saturday mornings to us! All spring. All summer.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to their office in February and told them I wanted to run the race series, invite community members to come along, and write about our experiences for the Akron Beacon Journal. Sure, I knew they'd be thrilled. In all my years of writing about the event, the one thing that has always come through is the staff's wish for the Akron Marathon to be a dream-maker for average people, not just lifelong athletes. That's the message they always wanted to impress on me; the message I wanted to help them share. Still, their immediate and unconditional commitment to helping all of us achieve our goals has been above and beyond expectations.

So whether you see them at a Saturday outing, or on race day, or just a random crossing of paths anywhere else, be sure to thank them.

They are (and not in order of the photo above, which I snagged from their website):

Executive Director Anne Bitong
Vice President Amy Freeman
Race Director Brian Polen
Project Manager Katie Riley
Director of Runner Services Carrie Washnock
Operations Director Laura McElrath
Intern Lauren Hoyer

Come back here tomorrow for Mugshot Monday. I'll be sharing the stories of five BLBers, and now that we're getting to know each other personally, let's see if you recognize any of them.

- Paula