If you’re among the 15,000 folks running in Saturday’s Akron Marathon — be it the full or half marathon, relay race or Kids Fun Run — you probably know what you’re doing by now.

If you just want to watch the race, or attend the marathon’s Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, or are simply trying to avoid the crowds and road closings that accompany the biggest single-day event in Akron, then you’re probably looking for this information:

Health & Fitness Expo

The action begins Friday at the John S. Knight Center, where speakers, ceremonies and exhibitor booths will be running from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The event, at 77 E. Mill St. in downtown Akron, is free and open to the public. Get your health and fitness questions answered by vendors and experts, and visit the Official Akron Marathon Merchandise Store featuring Brooks licensed apparel.

Among featured events:

•?Pasta Party from 5 to 9 p.m., $15 for adults and free for children 3 years and under. All-you-can-eat pasta and salad buffet, beverages and dessert.

•?Signings of the Akron Marathon’s 10-year commemorative book: 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. by event founders Steve and Jeannine Marks; 2:30 p.m. by race director Jim Barnett; and 4:30 p.m. by national marathon personality Bill Rodgers.

•?4 p.m.: Bill Rodgers will speak.

•?5 p.m.: Five- and 10-year club pinning ceremony.

• 7 p.m.: Mind, Body & Sole awards ceremony.

Spectating/Downtown

You can watch the runners anywhere on the 26.2-mile course, but downtown will give you the most bang for your buck.

At the starting line on South Broadway, enjoy the 7 a.m. opening ceremonies near the National Inventors Hall of Fame School or from the sidewalk lining the road all the way to the All-America Bridge.

Also, early arrivals will be treated to a surprise. Race officials are mum on the details, but say there is a top-secret element that will dazzle participants and spectators at the starting line.

Once the race is under way, mosey one block west to any place on High Street. The runners will pass here once they have looped the bridge. Stay put. Later in the race, some of the runners will loop the All-America Bridge again.

After the runners return over the bridge, walk two blocks west to Main Street or head to the finish line at Canal Park.

The leaders should be turning onto Main from West Market Street before 9 a.m. as they race for the stadium. The procession of runners will continue down Main past noon.

Spectating/Neighborhood

If you want a more sedentary viewing experience, park your lawn chairs along the route.

Some prime viewing spots include Firestone Park (runners will travel along the north edge); Akron-Peninsula Road and North Portage Path (watch runners exit Towpath Trail by the Indian statue); Firestone High School (get a view as the pack comes down Fairfax to Castle); Portage Country Club; Highland Square (watch from the sidewalks or patronize a coffee shop or cafe).

Canal Park finish line

Admission to the stadium on Main Street is free. There will be live music on the main stage, concessions and live coverage of the entire race course on the field’s big screen.

The runners will enter through the center-field wall and cross the finish line before rounding the bases for various activities, including picking up their medals and getting pictures taken.

Given past performances, organizers expect runners to pour into the stadium between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Parking

Some parking lots and metered spaces downtown will be inaccessible at times, so leave early and keep your cool if it takes awhile to find a spot.

Also, keep your patience when you want to leave, as your car may be trapped until runners pass.

Weather

For Saturday’s race, the National Weather Service is suggesting lots of sun with a high in the 60s, but it will no doubt be chillier when the race begins at 7 a.m., so dress in layers.

Fan tips

•?Cheer! Most runners train alone, so events with screaming fans are a treat. Don’t be shy. Clap, shout, ring a cowbell or bang thunder sticks. Make and hold up signs of encouragement.

•?Entertainment has been scheduled for every mile of the race. Look for such acts as school groups, acoustic musicians and a local laughing club.

•?Respect the course. It’s OK to cross it if no one is coming, but stick to the curb or sidewalk so you don’t narrow the street for runners.

•?Track your favorite marathon or half-marathon runner by visiting www.akronmarathon.org and signing up under the link “Runner Tracking Now Available.” You’ll get a progress notice via phone, email, Facebook or Twitter four times for half-marathoners and six times for marathoners.

•?If you’re a resource to a runner, make sure you’ve practiced how to hand off a favorite snack or beverage or receive items from your runner as they shed extra clothing.

Make plans where to meet your runner after the race; pick an area or seating section at Canal Park.

Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or pschleis@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/paulaschleis.