Monday, September 29, 2014

Akron Marathon Relay Recap

The weekend I have been waiting for has finally arrived!!! Through HUNDREDS of emails, texts, phone calls and tweets – we were actually going to Akron to run the Akron Marathon Relay! There were four waves of us traveling to Akron on Friday morning. I traveled with Captain Chelsea and we had to stop and get everybody’s Great Race information.

We will see you on Sunday!

After a quick sub-2 hour road trip, we arrived in the Rubber City! Fun Fact: Akron is the Rubber City because it is the headquarters of Goodyear.

Hello Ohio.
Almost there!
We made it!!

We quickly checked into the hotel, found our friends and headed to the expo. We also ended up working the Pittsburgh Marathon booth so Chelsea could get her free entry into her first marathon.

Packet pickup and general questions.
Vendor area.

Once all that was taken care of, we walked to dinner and enjoyed the area. Despite the not so wonderful dinner, we had a great time chatting and laughing.

Elevator picture is a must!
Coach Jeff and his shirt!
Sarah in her princess stuff!
Sarah, Chelsea and me.

We had a 5am wake-up call Saturday morning and a 6am meet up in the lobby of the hotel. It was a gorgeous race morning, around 50 degrees. 

Thanks so much Panera Bread!!
EEK!! We are really doing this!

Besides us running the relay, we had two half marathoners with us, Nathan and Matthew.  Nathan was joining us from Florida. It cracked us all up how cold he was in the morning. I was running the first two legs of the relay and then would hand off to Jeff in just about nine miles. I told him to expect me around 1:20.

Lauren and MB walking to the start!

So myself, Matthew and Nathan made our way to the starting corrals. I was in corral C and stood next to the 9:55 pace sign. I wasn't very happy about this. Corral B was very tiny and I should have moved up to it. We did not get walked up to the start, and I saw a ton of people just sprinting. As I was getting ready to cross the start, I saw my team waving to me. I was so happy to see them! 3-2-1 here we go!

Lots of signs. Very helpful!
All the runners!
Ready to go!

There is a blue line that marks the tangent through the course, and I made sure I stayed on that line as much as possible. I really wasn't sure how to pace this race. The runners I started with would either be running 3.9 miles or the actual distance of the race. I just knew I needed to get away from the people I started with.

The first few miles were kind of a blur. Not a lot of spectators, but we did run across a really cool bridge. When we got more in to town around mile three, the spectators were out in full force! Sarah said she and MB (Lauren’s husband) would be somewhere in mile three. I spent the entire mile looking for them, it should be easy to spot the scooter! The next thing I know, I am being told to stay to the left for the relay. Holy Crap! I already ran almost four miles?

We ran down a ramp to get to the exchange, I had to still go through even though I wasn't passing off. I got ran into twice. I was very mad. I made sure to stay all the way to the left with the exchange on the right. Very rude!

My first leg ended up being just about four miles, once I got out of the exchange. My splits broke down like this:

Mile 1: 8:57  Mile 2: 8:50  Mile 3: 8:42  Mile 4: 8:37 – official time of leg one: 34:59

Now I am in my leg. I knew there was a lot of up and down coming. I wanted to stay consistent and continue on this negative split I was working with. The crowd support want amazing. We ran through a beautiful park where people handed out marshmallows. That was a first for me!

Now I am going to admit something here, I never looked at my watch until around mile seven. The only reason why I looked is because I wondered how far off the official time I was. I was feeling really good, even better when I saw that I was under an hour at the seven mile mark.

Then I realized I was going to be quicker than 1:20 for my leg. I had no idea if Jeff was going to be ready at the exchange! I decided to slow down slightly to try to be closer to that time frame. We were now running towards the University of Akron, and I knew the exchange was coming.

I stayed to the left and hand no problem finding Jeff. I handed off and it was done. My total leg was 8.73 miles. My splits broke down like this:

Mile 5: 8:28  Mile 6: 8:33  Mile 7: 8:53  Mile 8: 8:46  Mile 8.73: 6:00 – official time of leg two: 40:16.

I had a goal of a sub-40 minute leg of the relay, so running 16 seconds over with running four miles before it was amazing!


I made my way back to the finish line to meet Sarah, MB and Nathan. I saw Matthew finish and he looked fantastic!

Matthew right at the 13 mile mark!

We hung out in the baseball field and waited for updates from our other relay partners. We enjoyed some beer and treats while watching all the finishers come in.


Lauren sent us picture messages as she was running and Chelsea let us know when she was about a mile from the finish line. We made our way down to the field to watch our captain finish! 

Lauren was not impressed with the hill
On the field! 
Medal area
Waiting for Chelsea! 

It was great!! Our time was 4:08 which was better than our projected 4:15 finish!!

Team Four Princesses and a Frog - Team Panera!!
Sarah got emotional, but its alright!

We had the most amazing time in Akron. Nathan ended up getting a new PR with a 1:32 in the half marathon. Matthew had crushed his goal by finishing with a 2:01.

I really enjoyed this race. So much so, I think I might go back to run the half marathon next year in August. The event itself was fantastic and the volunteers were amazing. The finishers area was so much fun and crowd support was even better! Thanks to the Akron Marathon and Panera Bread for having us!  


  1. Seems like you all had a really good time and it seems like you got to run a really good race. Next year I think I am going to do the half.

  2. The relay seems like so much fun! I hope you enjoyed our little city :)

  3. Steffany Smith RubelSeptember 30, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    They are actually doing a half in August and one with marathon weekend. I think I might try for August! it was an awesome race!

  4. Steffany Smith RubelSeptember 30, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    I LOVED IT! It was my first marathon relay and I want to run so many more!

  5. Congrats! It looks like y'all had so much fun! This makes me excited for my Ragnar in October!