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The Suburbanite
  • Runners gear up for Canton Marathon at winter expo

  • The Canton Marathon is roughly five months away. But organizers and participants gathered Saturday at the Canton Marathon Winter Fitness & Health Expo to learn more about training and fitness in preparation for the inaugural race, which includes a half marathon and walking divisions.

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  • Amanda Stidd started running about a year ago. She wanted to exercise as part of a healthier lifestyle.
    Stidd runs regularly with her husband, Jeremy. When the mother and schoolteacher started, she may not have had a grand goal.
    Now she does. The Canton Marathon.
    Stidd was at the Canton Marathon Winter Fitness & Health Expo on Saturday in the McKinley Room at the Memorial Civic Center.
    “We wanted a bigger goal, and we’ve signed up for the marathon,” said Stidd, 32, of Green.
    “It was really health reasons,” she said of running. “And we wanted to take it to the next level.”
    “There is doubt,” Stidd admitted, of whether she will be able to complete the marathon. “But I have a motto: ‘It’s mind over matter,’ and if you put your mind to it, you can do it.”
    JUNE MARATHON
    The Winter Fitness & Health Expo promoted the inaugural Canton Marathon, which includes a half marathon, set for June 17.
    Runners and fitness enthusiasts could sign up for both a free training program and a more in-depth version that requires a fee at Saturday’s expo.
    And runners perused the exhibitors, which included running shoes and clothing. They also could gather information about other races as well as learning about fitness-related products and services.
    The expo ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stephen Mears, co-organizer and CEO of the Canton Marathon, estimated that more than 1,000 people had attended the free event by 11 a.m.
    “There’s a vibe of excitement,” he said.
    The full and half marathons, as well as the 10K event and the 5-person marathon team relays, will start at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and end on the field at Fawcett Stadium.
    The half marathon and 10K race also have walking divisions.
    TRAINING PROGRAMS
    Matt Sidel, an avid runner who gave a presentation about training at the expo, said the event was geared toward novice to intermediate runners.
    “We have to make sure we’re educating, but also inspiring people,” said Sidel, 34, of Jackson Township.
    Sidel heads two training programs. The free one, the Canton Marathon Running Club, includes about 50 runners, who will be meeting Saturdays in preparation for the marathon. Sidel has competed in marathons in Akron, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati and Cleveland.
    The Premier Training Program, which costs $265 for the full marathon version and $250 for the half marathon, offers weekly programs on training topics, coaching and meets to run three times a week.
    The paid program can prepare an inexperienced or non-runner for a marathon in 18 weeks, Mears said. Feb. 9 is the registration deadline for the Premier program.
    Page 2 of 2 - For more information, including entry fees for the marathon events, visit www.cantonmarathon.com or call the Canton Marathon office at 330-456-9811.
    ‘ONE MORE MILE’
    Nina Gatts, 30, of Canton, said the Canton Marathon will be her first. She has participated in shorter events.
    “I love running,” she said, beaming a grin and noting she has lost weight with the help of the exercise.
    Gatts said she’s run as far as 10.5 miles. “I compete with myself,” she said of her motivational methods. “I talk to myself in my head. I say over and over, ‘One more mile. One more mile.’ ”