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Events & Programs

The Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation is committed to preserving the integrity of the running industry. Whether highlighting the leaders of our industry for their commitment to excellence or working to ensure our events follow “green” guidelines, these programs help us continue delivering world-class experiences through all of our events.


The Ambassador Award presented by Westfield Bank 

The Akron Marathon’s Ambassador Award presented by Westfield Bank recognizes individuals who have demonstrated superior service and dedication to the running industry or who have earned respect within their community for exceptional accomplishments.

Criteria for appointing an Ambassador:

2008 Recipient
Kathrine Switzer will always be best known as the woman who challenged the all-male tradition of the Boston Marathon and became the first woman to officially enter and run the event. Kathrine’s career has included creating programs in 27 countries for over 1 million women that led to the inclusion of the women’s marathon as an official event in the Olympic Games, changing forever the face of sports, health and opportunities for women around the world.

2009 Recipient
Bill Rodgers is one of the most celebrated men’s distance runners in history.  He is a four-time winner of the Boston and New York City marathons, and is widely regarded as one of the great marathoners of all time.  Bill is a member of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame and was a member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic marathon team.  He is a two-time RRCA Masters Runner of the Year and has won numerous awards in the running industry.

2010 Recipient
Amby Burfoot has been a lifelong runner who now combines his knowledge and love of running with his writing and editing skills. He is the executive editor ofRunner’s World magazine.  Amby won the Boston Marathon in 1968.  He is an advocate of healthy living and successful author of many blogs, articles, and books.

2011 Recipient
Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner’s World and author of numerous books, including the best-sellingMarathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships.  He has served as a trainer and coach for runners of all ages.

2012 Recipient
Craig Masback was the Chief Executive Officer of USA Track & Field (USATF), the national governing body for track and field, long distance running and race walking from 1997 to 2008. Masback has also provided network television commentary on various track and field events for NBC, CBS, ESPN and ABC over a 30-year broadcasting career, including serving as an analyst for NBC at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which marked his fourth Olympic broadcast.

2013 Recipient
Creigh Kelley has done radio and TV color commentary at local and national events for the past 33 years, including the Half Marathon Championships, World Triathlon Championships, and the Summer Olympics in Sydney.  He has also served as an executive committee member of the USATF Long Distance Running division and is a founding member and national board member of Running USA.  He currently serves as the President of BKB, Limited.  

2014 Recipient
Joan Benoit Samuelson won the gold medal the inaugural women’s marathon in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, establishing her as one of the leading role models for women in the running industry.  She has been recognized as the Women’s Master Runner of the Year in 1998 from the Road Runner’s Club of America, and was a 1999 inductee into the International Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame.  Currently, she is a consultant to Nike and a clinician, conducting numerous running, health, and fitness clinics throughout the United States and the world.


Environmental Endurance

The Akron Marathon commits to consider the social, economic and environmental impacts while putting on a world-class event. We seek to incorporate environmentally responsible practices through a process of planning, deliberate actions, measuring progress, and continuous improvement. These practices will help to reduce waste and energy consumption, encourage economic advancement and healthy living.


Going the Distance Sustainability Campaign

A $1,000,000 Sustainability Campaign that Sets the Pace for Tomorrow

The Akron Marathon was created through the ingenuity, creativity, business acumen and hard work of Steve and Jeannine Marks as well as hundreds of Akron and Summit County residents, runners and community, business, government and philanthropic leaders. Without the support of the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, there would be no Akron Marathon events and the far-reaching benefits they provide to our community.

Although the Akron Marathon continues to grow at an impressive rate, there is far greater potential to expand its health, economic and community impact on Akron, Summit County and beyond. To do so, the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation has determined that it must:

  1. Enhance and grow marathon events that will retain past participants, attract new ones and help generate additional revenue.
  2. Increase educational outreach, especially to children and youth, on health, fitness and wellness.
  3. Increase its organizational capacity by adding staff and the technology needed to enhance race event operations.
  4. Provide scholarships to runners with financial limitations.
  5. Attract top-level athletes and elite runners from around the world to enhance the international appeal and prestige of the marathon.
  6. Improve the financial position, operating flexibility and sustainability of the Akron Marathon by establishing a contingency fund to pursue unanticipated opportunities and to safeguard against unforeseen events.
  7. Continue to provide marketing and philanthropic venues that benefit area nonprofits.

To raise the funds needed to accomplish these goals, the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation is initiating a Going the Distance Sustainability Campaign which will take place between the fall of 2011 and Spring 2013. The Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation has established the Akron Marathon Sustainability endowment fund at the Akron Community Foundation. Foundations, businesses and individuals are invited to support the Going the Distance Sustainability Campaign.

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