Akron, OH (June 26, 2021) — Nick Stricklen from Akron and Becki Spellman from Galloway were the respective 8k winners in the men’s and women’s races at the National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile, the first race of the 2021 Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health on Sat., June 26, 2021, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Spellman, a University of Akron track and field alumni, previously held the 8k women’s course record of 29:30 from 2017, and today, she set a new course record with a time of 29:24. As a longtime Akron Marathon athlete, in 2011 and 2016, she won the women’s Full Marathon and in 2018, she won the women’s Half Marathon.

The National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile welcomed 1,761 in-person athletes and 106 virtual athletes for a total of 1,867 participants from 10 states, with ages 3 to 79 competing.

The race began by highlighting The University of Akron’s campus with a unique tour of downtown Akron. Although it was designed for speed, the course supported both runners and walkers as they made their way to the finish on the Summa Field inside InfoCision Stadium.

The morning’s first to cross the finish line in the 1 Mile race was Kevin Messick from Wadsworth and Renee Harden from Medina.

National Interstate Insurance, in its sixth year as Presenting Sponsor for this first race in the Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health, had 37 employees participating in the race.

“Today, we were proud to bring our team together for the National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile race,” states Tony Prinzo, AVP, Human Resources of National Interstate Insurance. “We take a great deal of pride in supporting the Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health. This year feels extra special as we were able to come together in person and feel a sense of community with volunteers, runners and staff all doing something good for their social and physical well-being.”

The day’s winners included:

Men’s 8k:

  1. Nick Stricklen, Akron, 25:45
  2. Hunter Heaton, Copley, 25:51
  3. Dylan Garritano, Akron, 26:18

Women’s 8k:

  1. Becki Spellman, Galloway, 29:24 (record-breaking time)
  2. Ellen Isaac, Akron, 29:49
  3. Janel Zick, West Valley City, UT, 30:21

Men’s Master’s 8k:

  1. Paul Stock, Hudson, 29:58
  2. Douglas Smith, Akron, 30:56
  3. Monnie McBride, Windham, 32:04

Women’s Master’s 8k:

  1. Teresa Ferguson, Akron, 34:19
  2. Leslie Owen, Copley, 34:48
  3. Holly Wierzbicki, Uniontown, 36:00 

Men’s 1 Mile:

  1. Joe Polakowski, Mentor, 4:52
  2. Brad Stumpf, Columbia Station, 5:10
  3. Craig Melzer, Kent, 5:53

Women’s 1 Mile:

  1. Renee Harden, Medina, 5:42
  2. Katharine Schweitzer, Sparks, NV, 6:07
  3. Mallory Maher, Shaker Heights, 6:15

Men’s Master’s 1 Mile:

  1. Kevin Messick, Wadsworth, 5:59
  2. Michael Smolak, Westlake, 6:16
  3. Chad Palmer, Canton, 6:37

Women’s Master’s 1 Mile:

  1. Elizabeth Tucci, Akron, 6:48
  2. Jennifer Douglas, Akron, 7:34
  3. Heather Manko, Uniontown, 10:32

“It’s been 637 days since we’ve been together for a race, and our community joined together, stronger than ever, to celebrate our sixth year of the race series,” states Anne Bitong, president & CEO of the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation. “On this beautiful morning, we were so proud to welcome back runners, and we witnessed strong performances and even stronger pride for the Blue Line.”

The Goodyear Half Marathon and 10k is set for Aug. 14, 2021, and the marquee event — the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, and Team Relay — will follow the Blue Line through the streets of Akron on Sept. 25, 2021.

For more information about the Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health, race registration, or volunteer opportunities for the remaining two race series events, visit AkronMarathon.org.

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All race results can be found here.


Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation

Kat Allen, kat@ampstrategy.com


About the Akron Marathon Race Series

The Akron Marathon Race Series is organized by the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, a nonprofit group founded in 2002 to provide a world-class marathon and other events that promote health and fitness, stimulate the local economy, galvanize the community and benefit charitable organizations. The series features race dates in June (National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile) and August (Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k), culminating with the 19th running of the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay & Kids Fun Run in September. Additional information is available at AkronMarathon.org or by calling (330) 434-2RUN (2786).

About Summa Health

Summa Health is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and the Summa Health Foundation, we are nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa’s clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. For more information, visit summahealth.org or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter, twitter.com/summahealth.