AKRON, Ohio – Runners and volunteers participating in this year’s FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay are required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or of a negative test 72 hours prior to the race, organizers announced Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • The Akron Marathon requires participants to be fully vaccinated or produce a negative COVID-19 test

  • About 8,500 runners are expected to participate in the race series, which draws an average of 100,000 spectators

  • The race will wind through the streets of Akron on Sept. 25

  • During the Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k in August, 81% of runners said they were fully vaccinated

The event, whose course is set by a “Blue Line” which has winded through the city since 2003, is set for Sept. 25. 

About 8,500 runners are expected to participate in the race series, which draws an average of 100,000 spectators, said spokeswoman Kat Allen. About 2,000 people are expected to volunteer for the marathon.

Event organizers, Summa Health System, the Akron Marathon Charitable Corp. and FirstEnergy, said the move is aligned with mass-gathering best practices, and is designed to protect public safety as COVID-19 infections continue to rise.

“In order to ensure the race experience that our runners expect — including the Finisher’s Festival — we have to make certain of their safety first and foremost,” said Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation President Anne Bitong in a release.

Marathon organizers define “fully vaccinated” as being two weeks past a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks past a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Participants can use a hard copy, photocopy or digital immunization record for proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test, organizers said. The records must be in hand for runners to pick up their race bib in person at the Akron Marathon Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, Sept. 24 at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron.

“We strongly recommend the available COVID vaccines and commend the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation for its work in keeping race participants safe,” said Summa Health spokesman Mike Bernstein.

In August, during the Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k, 81% of runners said they were fully vaccinated, organizers said.

This is the third and final race in the Akron Marathon Race Series, presented by Summa Health. The National Interstate and 1 Mile event took place in June, followed by the Half Marathon and 10K in mid-August.

Akron Marathon organizers opted to take a different route than the Air Force Marathon near Dayton, which decided to convert next month's event into a virtual race.