More details to help you smoothly navigate Saturday's Goodyear 10k in the Akron Marathon Race Series:
START LINE CORRAL
About 6:15 a.m. we will leave our BLB gathering spot outside the test track and head inside to take our place in the corrals for the 6:30 a.m. start. There will be signs indicating pace per mile. If you're a runner or run/walker, look for the pace you’ve been doing in practice and line up there.
All walkers should line up at the back of the corral. I happen to know some of you walk faster than the slowest runners, but don’t worry. The runners in front of you will thin out quickly and you’ll have plenty of room to move up.
As a matter of fact, to guarantee that thinning, the marathon is doing a new modified “wave” start where they create an intentional break before the 9-minute and 11-minute pacers. Those before the 9-minute pacer will be released at the start of the race. Those behind the 9-minute pace will be walked to the start line and then released, and ditto for those behind the 11-minute pacer. As you know, the timing chip in your bib records your start and finish times, so regardless of where you are in the corral and when you get released, your race doesn’t officially start till you cross the timing mat.
I admit I had to laugh after the June 24 race when I realized that the fastest 1-mile runners were actually crossing the finish line inside Infocision Stadium just as the last of the race participants were leaving the start line corral.
This time, it’s possible that some speedy 10k runners will overlap participants who are just leaving the test track because the course is redundant for about a quarter of a mile and there is that new wave start.
So especially if you are at the back of the corral, note that when you exit the test track, signs along Seiberling and Innovation Way will encourage you to stay to the right in order to make room on the left for those finishing runners.
Another important course note is that 5 miles into your 6.2 mile trip, the half marathon participants will be veering off. You do NOT want to follow them!
This critical turn will be at Triplett Boulevard, where the 10k course will turn left and make a U-turn on Triplett, retracing the route back down Seiberling and Innovation Way. Police, volunteers and signs will all be alerting you to this and other important junctures, but in the end it’s up to us to make sure we make the right choice.
And if you’re counting the miles, look for the feather flags marking each mile.
Here's a link to a pdf of the 10k course map: http://www.akronmarathon.org/media/3617/gy10kcourse_lowres.pdf
For the 10k route, there are four fluid stations. They will have water and lemon-lime Powerade. As you approach a fluid station, water will be available first followed by the energy drink. If you are not used to consuming energy drinks, take the water. Nothing new on race day.
There are medical stations at the start and finish line, but also medical tents at two locations along the 10k route, with Summa Health providing the medical assistance. The tents are just after 2.5 miles, and just before 5 miles near Triplett.
Which reminds me: When you get your bib on Friday, check the emergency contact info on the back of your bib and make sure it is still accurate from when you provided it during registration. If you need to update this information with a new name and phone number, write it large and clear.
Also, a reminder to avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve, Advil and ibuprofen before, during or after a race. NSAIDs, especially in a dehydrated runner, can adversely affect the kidneys and increase risk of low blood sodium. Tylenol is an alternative for those who can take it.
I count 5 restroom areas on the course map. Use ‘em if ya need ‘em!
PACE LIMIT AND COURSE CLOSURE
The 10k course is open for 2 hours, until 8:30 a.m. At that point, support from the course (i.e. fluid stations, volunteers, road closures) is pulled.
That’s a 19:19 minute pace. If you are moving slower than that, the SAG (Support and Gear) vehicle will offer to pick you up if you are injured or unable to continue.
If you’re feeling fine, you can keep going. Just move to the sidewalk and keep heading for the finish line!