Now that we have our relay teams formed, next Saturday's long run/walk is the perfect opportunity to try out all five relay legs. We won't be exchanging slap bracelets or running the course in turns since we'll be taking close to six hours to complete the 26.2-mile course on race day. Instead, we will all begin our respective segments at the same time. There are some logistical considerations, so here's what we'll do...

Relay team members doing legs 1, 2, 3 and 5 - as well as all half marathon participants - will meet at 8 a.m. where we parked for the Akron Marathon Half Marathon test run a week ago. That's the city lot directly across the street from Canal Park at 300 S. Main Street.

LEG 1: Your starting line is just a couple of blocks away on High Street, so you can walk there to begin your course segment.

LEG 2: Your starting line is a few blocks away, and given where you end, it would probably stretch your 6.2-mile sgment to a 7-mile day. Instead, you will skip a few downtown blocks and catch your course directly on University Avenue.

LEG 3: Your starting line is a few blocks behind you. Rather than retrace those blocks and add to your mileage, you can begin on High Street with Legs 1 and 2 and you won't miss much of your course. We will have a volunteer shuttle driver waiting at Firestone High School (the leg's end) to bring you back downtown.

Half marathon participants - whether or not you are doing the first leg of a relay - will do the same course as last week's trial run to reach our 12-mile training goal. That means beginning and ending on High Street near the police department.

We will fan out like this:  

LEG 5: Canal Park is where your course ends. So after you arrive at 8 a.m., we will ask for two or three of you to volunteer to shuttle all Leg 5 relay members to Hardesty Park (1615 W, Market St.) to reach the starting point. The shuttle drivers will park there and join everyone else in running or walking the course to its conclusion at Canal Park. When everyone from Leg 5 returns downtown, we will find a volunteer to take the shuttle drivers back to their cars at Hardesty Park.

LEG 4: You are the only ones who will not meet downtown. Instead, all of you will meet at Hardesty Park (1615 W, Market St.) which is your finish line. At 8 a.m., there will be two shuttle drivers there to take you to the Firestone High School parking lot at the corner of Fairfax Road and Rampart Avenue to reach your starting line. Once there, all Leg 4 relay members will run or walk their course, ending at Hardesty Park where your cars are parked.

Map for Leg 4 and Leg 5 relay team members:      

If you want to look over the full course map, visit

With the exception of the new street segment on South Main Street, the Blue Line is already painted on the pavement, so you shouldn't have a problem navigating your way through your course. However, those doing the half marathon and LEG 3 will need to watch for the new (and as yet unmarked) portion of Main Street that curves over to High. It should be obvious when you get to it, as I noticed the old South Main has pretty much been destroyed since we ran it last week.

Please bring your own water. Anne Bitong has offered to staff a water station at about Mile 6 for the Half Marathon participants to fill their bottles, but there will not be any other course support. There are also no portable toilets for us, so if you feel the need, be sure to take advantage of any open businesses BEFORE you reach any residential neighborhoods where your options will be severely limited.

-- Paula