Hundreds of children and parents participated in the Kids Fun Run Friday evening in Akron.
Rows of children and their parents stood on South Main Street, waiting and smiling behind the brick starting line for their 1-mile trek to begin.
As a countdown started over a megaphone, the kids, all lined up in front, got into a running-start position.
Three. Two. One. The runners took off.
To kids, Friday usually signals the start of the weekend, free of homework and responsibility. But on this particular Friday evening, it was a head start into the Akron Marathon celebration.
Hundreds gathered at Lock 3 Park for the Kids Fun Run on eve of the marathon. Kids 12 and younger were able to participate and learn how exercise can be rewarding and exciting.
Many of the young runners dressed up either in athletic outfits or as favorite superheros — like Supergirl and Batman.
Before starting the race, adults and kids warmed up by dancing to songs like Cupid's "Cupid Shuffle," Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling," and Rednex's "Cotton-Eyed Joe."
The course took runners down South Main Street past Canal Park and left onto West Exchange Street. Runners then turned left on Bowery Street past the parking deck and Akron Children's Hospital and landed back on South Main.
Some participants sprinted or ran briskly. Others jogged and walked. Some even ran alongside their pets.
Most importantly, everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves and the atmosphere of the pleasant autumn evening downtown.
This wasn't Dylan Baird's first time doing the Fun Run. The 10-year-old boy from Akron participated last year and said this time around was just as much fun.
His mother, Amy Baird, agreed with him. She also said she enjoyed how the event encourages participation from more than just the children.
"I really like how they involve the entire family," she said.
Brandon Bounds can be reached at 330-996-3762 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandonbounds_.