Did you know the Akron Marathon Team Relay is the largest 5-person team relay event in the country? There are some 5,500 participants every year, and this year they will they tackle the same course as the First Energy Akron Marathon on Sept. 23.

The relay is broken into five legs, ranging in distance from 3.6 to 6 miles. Team members pass a slap bracelet to one another at each relay exchange zone, then get taken to the Finisher Festival at Canal Park Stadium to wait for their final teammate to cross the finish line.

Over the next two weeks, we will form our Blue Line Beginners relay teams and if you want to join one, I'll need you to hear from you by Aug. 28.

First, read this if you already have a 5-member team picked out:

** Select a captain and choose a name. Please put BLB and a colon in front of your name so I can find everyone in the database easily. For instance -- BLB: No Stopping Us Now or BLB: We Burned Our Couches. You can have as much fun as you want with your name. Iíve written stories before on how creative people get!

** Once you have a name and a captain, the captain can register your team anytime at akronmarathon.org. Registration is $55 but you can get $5 off with the coupon code GYSVY17. Once the captain is registered, team members will see an option for registering for that particular team.

** I need the captain of your group to email me at akronrun@thebeaconjournal.com with your team name and the names of your members. Your members do not need to be Blue Line Beginners. Feel free to bring in family, friends and co-workers. But send me their names so we can acknowledge them.

** Each relay team as a whole should try to average a 14-minute mile pace or less. If your members ran a recent race, then you have an accurate pace for them. So if you have a walker that did an 18-minute mile during the Goodyear 10k, for instance, you should try to make sure you have a runner capable of a 10 minute mile, or two runners doing a 12 minute mile pace.

If you do not have a fully formed team and are ready to be assigned to a BLB relay team:

** Send me an email at akronrun@thebeaconjournal.com, and tell me if you are a runner, walker or run/walker.

** If you did the Goodyear 10k, then I already have your pace, BUT if you did not, I need to know your pace-per-minute when training.

** Are you okay with hills? If they are a particular hardship for you, please let me know as some relay segments are more hilly than others.

** Do you have any friends, family or co-workers who want to join you on a team? Send me their names and pace, and whether they run or walk. We really need that pace info. If they donít know it, ask them to do a minimum 3-mile workout and calculate it for us.

As stated above, we will strive to create teams that average a 14-minute mile or under pace, so we will balance walkers with faster runners.

I will work with the Akron Marathon to form our teams in a way that is most efficient. In general, we canít juggle requests for specific segments because we need the flexibility to make this work, but I know from covering the marathon over the years that each segment is special in its own way. Still, if you have a very compelling reason for wanting a particular leg, feel free to mention it in your email to me.

Iím making the deadline Aug. 28 because that gives our half marathon hopefuls the chance to do an 11-mile workout on Saturday, Aug. 26 and make a final decision on whether they want to switch based on how they feel after that long one.