What is a Children’s Champion?

Become a Children’s Champion when you participate in the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon or Team Relay and commit to raising $1,000 to help Akron Children’s Hospital ensure that all children have the opportunity to receive the finest pediatric care.

What does it mean to be a Children’s Champion?

“I’m so impressed at what the hospital does every day to help kids the way they helped Kayla,” said Hackenberg. “Knowing we have a facility like Akron Children’s so close should give comfort to any family in the region. People think runners are the strong ones for the hours of training we put in. But when you see those hero kids along the racecourse or other kids in the hospital, you realize training is easy. What those kids do every day is so much more challenging than what we do and yet they do it with a smile.” -Burt Hackenberg


“A friend talked me into running the race series this year and when I heard about how I could personally support the hospital that has done so much for my son, my family, I knew I wanted to do it,” Will said.

Will is not only signed up to run in the 3 races that support Akron Children’s Hospital, but he’s personally fundraising for the hospital as a Children’s Champion.

“This is the first time I’ve ever tried to raise money for a charity or an event,” said Will. “I’m actually going into my personal contacts to ask people for their support – not for me but for the hospital…It just feels like the right thing to do.” -Will Brown


“I run in 5k races all the time, but I needed something that would really motivate me,” said Erik Ricci of Springfield Township. “My son, Joey, is my inspiration for everything I do so a race that supports the hospital that supports him is exactly what I needed.”

“No matter how much I try to support the hospital, there’s no way I can give back enough to adequately show my appreciation for everything Akron Children’s has done for my son and my family,” said Erik. “We’re so lucky to live where we do that we have such easy access to the greatest hospital in the area.” -Erik Ricci


“Last year, during the half marathon, seeing the Champions along the course was truly inspiring to me.  No matter how hard the half marathon was for me, and trust me – it was hard, it was nothing compared to what these children go through,” Jennifer said. “Yet, here they are cheering me on?  And they are happy to do so! It really made me want to help out and make a difference in some small way.” -Jennifer Estep

How do I start fundraising?

When you register to run the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay, a fundraising page will be created for you. You will receive a follow up email to customize and share your fundraising page. You can also log in to Race Roster to access your fundraising page!

Champion Benefits:


  • Children’s Champion race day t-shirt
  • Your name on a personalized sign along the race course
  • Access to a VIP area prior to the race start
  • Free medal engraving
  • A complimentary race registration for any event in the 2019 FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon or Team Relay


  • Children’s Champion race day t-shirt
  • Your name on a personalized sign along the race course


  • Children’s Champion race day t-shirt


Contact Nicci Avalon at navalon@akronchildrens.org or 330-543-8185 if you have questions or need help customizing your page!