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FirstEnergy Akron Marathon Race Series organizers announce return with course changes for 2021

The changes include a new starting line for the full marathon and reduced capacity for COVID-19 safety.

AKRON, Ohio — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above originally aired on Sept. 28, 2019.

The FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay returns in 2021 with some big changes for runners.

Race series organizers announced Thursday there would be a new starting line, a revised race course, new relay legs and a new finish line for the series, which includes a half and full marathon.

Some of the major changes include:

  • New starting line location: The starting line is being moved to the intersection of Broadway and East Market, and features the Akron Art Museum. It was chosen to allow traffic to flow into downtown for anyone starting in the later waves, helping to eradicate logistical issues due to active racers on the course.
  • Revised course: A new race course features some familiar areas from previous courses while also highlighting various neighborhoods and landmarks in Akron. Half marathon runners will race through The University of Akron, Firestone Park, North Hill and also a portion of the Towpath Trail downtown before finishing at South Main Street. Full marathon runners will run on the Ohio& Erie Canal Towpath Trail into the Merriman Valley, through Sand Run Metropark, some West Akron neighborhoods and part of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens before finishing in Downtown Akron.
  • New relay legs: New distances will be based on the revised course with minimal transportation points include; Relay leg #1 - 4.6 miles, Relay leg #2 - 6.6 miles, Relay leg #3 - 5.7 miles, Relay leg #4 - 4.5 miles, and Relay leg #5 - 4.8 miles.
  • New finish line: Runners will finish on South Main Street at Lock 3 in the heart of Downtown Akron. This is because of scheduling conflicts and a later-finishing Akron RubberDucks season.

There will also be reduced capacity and self-served fluid stations to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols.

The full course map can be viewed here.

“As always, the Akron Marathon team is preparing to provide world-class running to our community of runners with unparalleled organization on-course and off,” states Anne Bitong, president and CEO of the Akron Marathon. “This year, we’ve had to go from Plan A to Plan Z on more than one account, but we’re here for it, and we’re as committed as ever to ensuring a safe and enjoyable race day experience. To our staff, board, volunteers, and committee members thank you for the extra hours and work you’re doing to ensure that happens. We can’t wait to welcome you as we make our 19th journey down the Blue Line on Sept. 25, 2021!”

RELATED: 2021 Cleveland Marathon postponed due to COVID-19

The following Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health race dates are confirmed:

  • National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile, June 26, 2021
  • Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k, Aug. 14, 2021
  • Kids Fun Run presented by Akron Children’s Hospital, Sept. 24, 2021
  • FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay, Sept. 25, 2021

Registration for the Akron Marathon Race Series presented by Summa Health events has reached over 50 percent capacity. For more information, race registration, and volunteer opportunities, please visit AkronMarathon.org.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player below originally aired Jan. 8, 2019.