Canton Marathon | Brian Bailey

More than 6,000 registered participants are expected for the inaugural Canton Marathon on June 17. More than 500 already have signed up to run all 26.2 miles. We asked 26 of those runners to tell us about themselves— and why they chose to run the marathon in Canton. Be prepared to be inspired.

26 runners for 26 miles

More than 6,000 registered participants are expected for the inaugural Canton Marathon on June 17. More than 500 already have signed up to run all 26.2 miles. We asked 26 of those runners to tell us about themselves— and why they chose to run the marathon in Canton. Be prepared to be inspired.

Age: 41

Residence: Jackson Township

Occupation: Co- founder, Old Carolina Barbecue Company.

How long have you been running? I have run the local 2-mile to 10K races with family for the last 20 years. My mother inspired our family to run these races.

Have you ever completed a marathon before? No. This will be my first and my last.

What’s the farthest distance you’ve ever run? Currently, I’m at nine miles. My training takes me up to 20. On race day, adrenaline will have to carry me the rest of the way.

Do you have a pre-race and/or post-race routine? I make sure to give my wife and two daughters a good-luck kiss before I find a good spot in the starting area.

Do you listen to music while you run? I usually like to think about specific challenges or opportunities in my business. I do have an iPod that I plan to start using on long runs. It is filled with ’80s rock and roll and ’70s old school funk, but modern rock tracks are best for my pace.

What made you sign up for the Canton Marathon? I turned 40 in 2010.That year for my birthday, my mom gave me 40 presents for the 40 days leading up to my big day. Each wrapped gift was a memory from my childhood. When the Canton Marathon was announced, I decided on my 40th birthday I would announce that I was running the race as a tribute to my mom. I weighed 292 pounds and figured the two-year training time frame would allow me to get in shape.

Are you following a specific running program? I downloaded a beginner’s 26-week schedule off the Internet and started official training the week before Christmas.

Where’s your favorite place to run in Stark County? So far, my treadmill.

What is your motivation? My mom, who I call “Coach.” She checks on me to make sure I am staying on schedule. She ran the Cleveland Revco Marathon in 1981 in 3:47:21 (can you believe there were 1,727 men and only 141 women in that race?). She tells me I need to beat that time, but I think she secretly wants me to not beat it.

What kind of shoes do you wear? Brooks, selected to match my arch and gait.