Akron Children's Hospital Hero Zones to Debut at 2016 FirstEnergy Akron Marathon

Specially designated areas to recognize patient heroes

Akron, Oh, Ohio, UNITED STATES

AKRON, Ohio, June 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Training for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series has officially begun and both the Akron Marathon and Akron Children's Hospital are excited to announce a new addition to enhance the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon race day experience for runners, spectators and the Akron community as they run, cheer or volunteer throughout the series.

"Fighting an illness takes courage, strength and hope – it takes a superhero," said Bill Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children's Hospital. "This summer we will be introducing patients from Akron Children's Hospital who have a unique story to tell. We'll highlight these young patient heroes in specially designated stretches of the 2016 race course called 'Hero Zones.' These children are our real-life superheroes, and we are proud to celebrate their victories with our community."

The sponsored Hero Zones will feature an Akron Children's patient who has overcome an obstacle or illness. There will be a total of 17 zones placed along the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon course where runners will pass by the patient hero and their family and friends.

"The goal of our partnership with Akron Children's Hospital is to make race day even more meaningful," said Anne Bitong, executive director of the Akron Marathon. "Hero Zones give us an opportunity to showcase patients who have shown incredible courage, strength and hope providing inspiration for runners throughout their training and on race day."

Throughout the summer, Akron Children's Hospital and the Akron Marathon will share the stories and photos of our patient heroes leading up to and on race day of our marquee event on Sept. 24, 2016. Their stories can be found at marathon.akronchildrens.org.

The Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series will kick off with the National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 10 a.m. at InfoCision Stadium. In recognition of their special role along the Blue Line, the patient heroes have been invited to be official starters of the race.

Registration for all three Akron Marathon Race Series events is available at AkronMarathon.org. More than 1,000 people have already signed up to run the entire series.

The 2016 race dates for the second running of the Akron Marathon Race Series are as follows: June 25 (National Interstate 8k & 1-Mile), Aug. 13 (Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k) and Sept. 24 (FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay). The dates coordinate with a typical training schedule to help runners reach bigger goals and longer distances

About the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series:
The Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series is organized by the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, a non-profit group founded in 2002 to provide a world-class marathon and other events that promote health and fitness, stimulate the local economy, galvanize the community and benefit charitable organizations. 2016 will mark the 14th running of September's marquee event (FirstEnergy Full Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay & Kids Fun Run), which has grown by more than 300 percent since its inception in 2003. The series features race dates in June (National Interstate 8k & 1-Mile) and August (Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k), providing greater opportunity for participation on all levels in the sport of running. Additional information is available at AkronMarathon.org or by calling (330) 434-2RUN (2786).

About Akron Children's Hospital
Ranked among the best children's hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Akron Children's Hospital is the fastest growing children's hospital in the U.S. according to Modern Healthcare. We own and operate two pediatric hospitals in northeast Ohio and more than 80 primary and subspecialty care locations. We have the second busiest emergency department in the state and perform more pediatric surgeries than any other hospital in northeast Ohio. With more than 800,000 patient visits each year, we've been leading the way to healthier futures for children and communities through expert medical care, prevention and wellness programs since 1890. Learn more at akronchildrens.org.

(PHOTO CAPTION FOR ATTACHED PICTURE: Meet Captain Cobra from Akron. In real life he's known as Caleb Thurman. Despite battling two autoimmune diseases – Crohn's and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, the 15 year old is active in sports and strives to be positive. Caleb juggles a busy schedule with trips to the hospital every 6 weeks for treatment.)

Media Contacts:
Andrew Antonucci
Marketing & Communications Manager
Akron Marathon
(330) 434-2786

Anne Merchant
Sr. Corporate Relations Marketing Liaison
Akron Children's Hospital
(330) 543-3558

Alan Ashby
WhiteSpace Creative
(330) 762-9320

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=40563

Caleb PR Photo

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