Akron Marathon to host six group runs during Spree

AKRON, Ohio (April 28, 2015) – Runners participating in the three-part Akron Marathon Rubber City Race Series have a new training partner: Summit Metro Parks.

The park district, with support from race series staff, will launch its inaugural Metro Parks Running Spree on Monday, June 1. The three-month spree includes a number of natural-surface and paved trails for beginning, intermediate and advanced runners that can be completed for credit while training for the June 27, August 15 and September 26 races.

Each spree participant who finishes at least six designated Summit Metro Parks trail runs by August 31 will earn a wooden race medal on a commemorative ribbon – much like the medals awarded by the Akron Marathon Rubber City Race Series.

Forms are available now at runningspree.summitmetroparks.org, and will be available starting May 15 at several Metro Parks locations and all Acme Fresh Market stores in Summit County. Rewards for the spree are FREE to Summit County residents. Out-of-county residents will pay $10 for their rewards.

The idea for the Running Spree was born last fall when Anne Bitong, president/executive director of the Akron Marathon, and Brian Polen, race director, shared plans of a new course for the Akron Marathon’s 26.2-mile marquee event with Nathan Eppink, chief of marketing and communications for the park district.

“Many marathoners already train in the Metro Parks,” Eppink said. “So while we’re no longer a part of the course in September, we’ll be with runners as they prepare for the starting line.”

“We’re thrilled about the Running Spree and the continued partnership with Summit Metro Parks,” Bitong said. “The spree helps us support our runners throughout their training.”

To aid in that preparation and help runners complete the new spree, race series staff will host six group runs this summer:

Wednesday, June 3, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Goodyear Heights Metro Park / Main Entrance
2077 Newton St., Akron

Tuesday, June 16, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Firestone Metro Park / Warner Road Lot
550 E. Warner Rd., Akron

Tuesday, July 7, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Liberty Park / Pond Brook Conservation Area
3973 E. Aurora Rd., Twinsburg

Tuesday, July 21, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Silver Creek Metro Park / Pheasant Run Area
5000 Hametown Rd., Norton

Tuesday, August 4, 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Towpath Trail / Big Bend Trailhead
1337 Merriman Rd., Akron

Tuesday, August 18, 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Towpath Trail / Memorial Parkway Trailhead
499 Memorial Parkway, Akron

Eppink said the Running Spree is similar in format to the district’s three other on-your-own spree events, including the May-June Spree For All hiking series on flat, easy trails, the July-August Summer Biking Spree on multipurpose trails, and the September-November Fall Hiking Spree on a variety of trails.

Summit Metro Parks manages 13,000 acres, including 15 parks, several conservation areas and more than 125 miles of trails, with 22.4 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Annual attendance averages 5.2 million visits.

The Akron Marathon Rubber City Race Series is organized by the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, a non-profit 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. This year will mark the 13th running of September’s marquee event (Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay & Kids Fun Run), which has grown by more than 300 percent since its inception in 2003. The Series will feature new race dates in June (8k & 1-Mile) and August (Half Marathon & 10k), providing greater opportunity for participation on all levels in the sport of running. Additional information on the Series is available at www.RubberCityRaceSeries.org or by calling (330) 434-2RUN (2786).

Current Summit Metro Parks press releases are available online: http://www.summitmetroparks.org/News/News-Room.aspx