Day highlighted by beautiful weather, record times and significant fundraising efforts
AKRON, Ohio (Sept. 24, 2016) – The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the final leg of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series on Saturday. Nearly 13,000 participants took part in the 14th annual FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay as an estimated 100,000 spectators and volunteers cheered them on to the finish line.
“What a phenomenal way to cap off the Akron Marathon Race Series,” said Anne Bitong, president and executive director of the Akron Marathon. “This race continues to get better every year thanks to the City of Akron and the additional support from Akron Children’s Hospital and FirstEnergy. It’s a testament to our runners and the Akron community that more than $420,000 was raised to support Children’s Hospital.”
This year’s race was marked by the debut of 13 hero zones featuring 24 patients from Akron Children’s Hospital.
“This weekend, the city of Akron was filled with superheroes, including our patients, the runners, volunteers, sponsors and so many others, who all worked together to make the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay possible,” said Bill Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s. “This spirit of service is a fundamental part of the history and culture of Akron, and Akron Children’s is proud to be part of this signature community event.”
In addition, 2016 Westfield Bank Ambassador Award recipient, Meb Keflezighi, the only person to win an Olympic medal, the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon, greeted participants at the finish line.
“It has been a great visit to Akron,” said Keflezighi. “They truly put on a world-class race and you can see on the faces of the runners how much they enjoy participating.”
The festivities kicked off Friday evening at the Kids Fun Run presented by Signet Jewelers, as more than 1,600 participants ages 14 and under completed the 1-mile course. Runners from 40 states and six different countries participated in Saturday’s events.
“FirstEnergy’s sponsorship of the Akron Marathon is a perfect fit for our company,” said Chuck Jones, president and CEO of FirstEnergy.” Hundreds of our employees and customers ran, volunteered and cheered. Their energy, along with all those who participated, has made the weekend a nationally respected running destination that is well organized and embraced by the Akron-area. We’re proud to be a part of this exciting race and congratulations to everyone who took part.”
The FirstEnergy Akron Marathon saw Tony Migliozzi, a North Canton, Ohio native and reigning 50k world champion, set a new Akron Marathon course record with a winning time of 2:21:40. The runner-up in the men’s full marathon was Blair Teal of Charlotte, N.C., finishing with a time of 2:23:43 and Israel Merkle of Akron, Ohio earned third with a 2:23:02.
On the women’s side, Becki Spellman of Hilliard, Ohio captured her second Akron Marathon title with a dominating time of 2:51:33. She previously won the race in 2011 and also won the Goodyear Half Marathon in August.
Kayla Aluise of Youngstown, Ohio finished in second with a 3:01:03 and Lauren Woolley of Pittsburgh, Pa., placed third with a 3:05:28.
The men’s half marathon was led by Canton, Ohio native Ryan Kienzle’s time of 1:08:02 becoming the the first two-time winner of the Half Marathon. Coming in close behind was Ryan Roush of Canfield, Ohio with a 1:08:09 and in third was Matt Lemon of Dayton, Ohio with a 1:09:56.
Leading the way during the women’s half marathon was Maura Lemon of Dayton, Ohio with a time of 1:18:25. The runner-up was Ellie Hess of Chesterland, Ohio with a 1:20:01 and Emma McCarron of Mansfield, Ohio came in third with a 1:21:31.
The top finishers in the masters (40 years and older) competition for the men’s marathon was Francesco Arato of Bolingbrook, Ill. (2:44:00), and on the women’s side was Teresa Ferguson of Akron (3:11:17). In the half marathon competition, Brad Prather of Roanoke, Ind., led the men with a 1:17:34 and Michelle Farr of Medina, Ohio led the women with 1:29:49.
The top five-person male team relay effort was turned in by The First Tee of Greater Akron Flyers, while the top women’s squad was Cleveland Elite Development.
Included in the day’s many highlights was Beach City, Ohio native Ron Legg, who set the 70-and-over national record for the 20k with a time of 1:26:27. Also, Helen McWilliams set a Guinness World Record for fastest marathon time while dressed as a chef carrying a 3-kilogram stockpot. While her time of 4:54:49 was impressive, the $10,000 she raised for the Akron Canton Foodbank was even more remarkable.
Registration for the 2017 Akron Marathon is open through October 2. Check out AkronMarathon.org for special 15th anniversary promotions.