What makes Akron great? How about over a hundred thousand spectators along the marathon course! Spectators are a vital part of the marathons exciting race atmosphere. Here, you can learn more about being a spectacular spectator at the Akron Marathon. Whether you’re here in support of one particular runner, or present to cheer on the masses, this page has everything you need to know to enjoy race day to its fullest! This page includes suggested spectator hot spots, race day reminders and tips for a successful and enjoyable experience!
WHERE TO WATCH THE RACE
Spectators can see their runner in as many as 9 different accessible locations on the course. Whether you plan on staying in one location the entire day, or following your runner to multiple spots, we’ll help guide you in the right direction. Follow the plan below to optimize viewing potential and catch your runner in action! Be sure to pick up a course map at the Health & Fitness Expo as well as the “Information” tents on race day.
Downtown Spectator Locations
Location #1 The Start Line: Kick off the day by watching the opening ceremonies at the Akron Marathon Start Line located at 177 S. Broadway Street, downtown Akron. Access the start line from various parking areas located on our downtown parking map. Location #2: After the start, take a leisurely stroll one block west to High Street. Here you’ll be able to see runners at mile 3.5. Now that you’ve seen your runners at mile 3.5, take some time to enjoy downtown Akron. Grab some coffee or bagel and enjoy the race atmosphere as you head to location three of the walking spectator route.
Location #3: From High Street, head east back to the start line, past the Inventors Hall of Fame and onto University Drive. Along University Drive and up through The University of Akron’s campus (Buchtel Commons), you’ll see runners at mile 9.6. They will have a completed the southern loop of the course and will once more return through the start line area.
Location #4: Next, you’ll want to head back up to Broadway and walk two blocks west to S. Main Street where the Finish Line is located. The finish line is located inside Canal Park Stadium where you can relax with a great view of our incredible finish line. You’ll have access to live music on the main stage, delicious stadium concessions, and live coverage of the entire race course on the fields’ overhead screen.
Course Spectator Locations
*Located on the outer loops of the course and utilized for the entire race day *Not recommended for traveling to and from throughout the race.
Location #1: Firestone Park at mile 6.5. Bring some lawn chairs and a blanket because Firestone Park is a lovely place to spend the morning cheering on our runners! Parking is available at the Firestone Park Recreation Center.
Location #2: Akron Peninsula Road and N. Portage Path at mile 16. Here you’ll find plenty of parking at the area retail stores and a great glimpse of the runners as they exit the towpath and head south on N. Portage Road.
Location #3: Firestone High School. Located at the 20.7 mile mark, this particular location provides spectators with a great view of the running field as they move down Fairfax to Castle, then on to Garman Rd towards the famous Heart Rate Hill close to mile 22.
Location #4: Portage Country Club at mile 23 offers a cozy neighborhood feel to watch the race and cheer on the runners.
Location #5: At mile 24 you’ll enjoy watching the event with many local amenities. Highland Square offers you a perfect spectator spot with plenty of parking and places to eat while you cheer on runners and enjoy local entertainment.
Location #6: THE FINISH LINE! This spectator spot has it all.
- Finish Line and official clock
- Entertainment on the main stage
- Live race coverage presented on the stadium screen
Here are a few tips to make the spectator experience even more memorable:
Tip #1: Respect the Course Help runners have a successful race by staying clear of course boundaries. This means don’t cross the course, stay on the curb or sidewalks as to not narrow the streets for runners and most importantly, listen to law enforcement and volunteers in regards to the best location to watch.
Tip #2: Timing Is Everything You will want to find out the projected pace per mile for your runner to aid in determining where and when they should reach certain points in the course. It could take a runner 5 minutes to cross the start line, so timing should not be based on the start time. Adjust your projected viewing times following the first sighting of your runner.
Tip #3: Getting Around It is highly recommended that if you are planning to be with your runner at the start and/or at the finish line, that you park early and remain downtown for the duration of race day. If you would like to observe the race from a spot outside of downtown, it’s recommended that you arrive early to your location, park in an appropriate parking spot, and remain in that location. Traveling from downtown to outside locations (or vice versa) will be difficult due to numerous road closures and relay runner shuttle activity. Also, keep in mind that it’s important to keep traffic congestion down for emergency vehicles.
Tip # 4: Information If you need general information about race day, visit the S. Main Street Information Booth outside the finish line or inside Canal Park Stadium on the concourse. *Medical information on runners can be accessed at the Information Booth inside Canal Park Stadium on the concourse.
Tip #5: Get Noticed Help your runner pick you out of the crowd by painting a sign or banner and wearing brightly colored clothing. Its also crucial to know your marathoner’s bib number and how they are dressed. It’s an imperfect science trying to time the convergence of a runner and spectator. If you suspect you’ve missed each other, move to the next viewing location.
Tip #6: For Family and Friends at Home, Use www.akronmarathon.org If you cannot be at the race to support your runner, or will be home during the event and would like updates on your runner, use the Akron Marathon website to determine your runner’s latest split times through the instant results. If family or friends can’t be present to chase after their runner, refer them to the website to keep tabs on the progress of the race.
Tip #7: Be Prepared Be another resource along the course for your runner. Marathon water and Powergel stations will support runners; however, a good hand-off during the race might be a favorite snack or beverage. Consider the weather, as well. If it’s raining, bring extra socks. If it is sunny, bring sunscreen. And as the day warms up, be ready to receive items from your runner as they shed extra clothing.
Tip #8: Link Up Post Race Plan to meet your runner in Canal Park Stadium at a predetermined area or seating section.
Tip #9: Use Technology Sign up for Text Messaging Tracking online or at the Health and Fitness Expo which sends alerts to cell phones, pagers and even blackberry’s as runners move across the timing mats throughout the course. By doing so, you can easily anticipate your runners arrival at your viewing area. Also, at the finish line there will be a kiosk station located on the concourse for instant race results and split times.
Favorite Cheers Show your support for participants! Clap, shout, ring your cowbells, and bang your thunder sticks together! It’s always welcome and it gives runners an extra pep in their step. Here are some favorite cheers:
Keep smiling! You’re looking awesome! Running smooth! You can do it! Way to run! One stride at a time! Way to focus! Stay relaxed! Keep it up! Way to go! Call out the runners name (on bib or shirt color). We support you!