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Deployed Ohio soldiers to run in Akron Marathon in Kuwait

9/19/2013, 10:29 a.m.

Akron, OH – On September 28, while thousands of runners and spectators fill the streets along the blue line in Akron for the Akron Marathon, about 300 soldiers deployed 6,600 miles away in Kuwait will also be lining up to take part in the race. This shadow run at the U.S. Army's Camp Arifjan will host soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard's 371st Sustainment Brigade.

“The Akron Marathon shadow run is a morale booster for many soldiers,” said First Lieutenant Kevin McGee, deployed Akron resident and shadow run race organizer who has run the Akron Marathon several times. “It also helps them maintain important connections with the community back home.”

This is the second time that the Akron Marathon has sponsored a shadow run for deployed soldiers, and race organizers have provided most of the perks that Akron-based runners will receive including finisher medals, finisher certificates and special shadow run tech t-shirts. The Akron Marathon shadow run at Arifjan includes the 26.2 mile full marathon, 13.1 mile half marathon and team relay distances.

The shadow run will begin at 5:30 p.m. Kuwait time which will be 10:30 a.m. in Akron. At the start, temperatures are expected to be around 110 degrees. The sun will set shortly after the race begins, allowing for cooler temperatures for the desert marathoners. Runners are expected to finish between 9:30 p.m. and midnight.

“It’s wonderful to know that deployed soldiers will be able to run this race with us,” said Anne Bitong, Akron Marathon executive director. “And because of the technology that’s available to us through Canal Park Stadium, the shadow run won’t seem that distant.”

By working with Canal Park Stadium, home of the Akron Marathon finish line, and the 371st Sustainment Brigade public affairs team, race organizers have plans to post pictures and video of the shadow run on the scoreboard during the race.

"The Akron Marathon's sponsorship of this race has really lifted the spirits of our brigade,” McGee said. “Running builds resilience and having a piece of our home delivered to us here in Kuwait adds to our soldiers’ optimism and connection."

Sponsors for the shadow run include the Akron Marathon, Brooks, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates (hfa), Maxwell Medals, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Power Media.

The Akron Marathon includes four events: the full marathon, the half marathon, the five-person team relay and the kids’ fun run. The 11th annual Akron Marathon, presented by Time Warner Cable, will be held September 28, 2013. Registration is available at akronmarathon.org.

The Akron Marathon is organized by the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, a nonprofit group that is dedicated to promoting health and fitness. Additional information on the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay is available at akronmarathon.org or by calling (330) 434-2RUN (2786).