Canton Marathon | Heinz Pak

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: 44

Residence: Canton

Occupation: Clinical Specialist with Medtronic.

How long have you been running? Basically my whole life but road races since January 2009.

Have you ever completed a marathon before? No, canton will be my first full.

What’s the farthest distance you’ve ever run? 13.1 miles.

Do you have a pre-race and/or post- race routine? No.

Do you listen to music while you run? Yes — everything from pop to alternative to reggae to big band.

What made you sign up for the Canton Marathon? It will be a little over four years since my open heart surgery, 10 days after my 45th birthday and it’s Fathers Day. My wife and I have had a difficult past 4 1⁄2 years!!

Are you following a specific running program? Nope, just lace them up and go!!

Where’s your favorite place to run in Stark County? Pilot Knob road.

What is your motivation? I was born with a cardiac defect that eventually turned into something worse; an aortic aneurysm. I was an athlete all my life and a Division 1 soccer player at the University of Pittsburgh. I won every individual award playing from team MVP to All-American. Running was part of my life as was my cardiac defect. My cardiologist initially found the aneur ysm in November 2007. She referred me to the Heart Center at Akron Children’s Hospital and after some more testing, had open heart surgery on April 1, 2008. After the surgery, the surgeon told my wife to never have me play the lottery. I used up all my luck. What he was referring to is that the aneurysm had a 2mm hole in it and that it was ready to burst.

What kind of shoes do you wear? Brooks right now, but also Saucony!