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More than 1,000 attend expo for Canton Marathon


CANTON — It’s a year away, but already the 2012 Canton Marathon has runners excited.

At least 300 people have signed up for next year’s inaugural event.

The first chance to register was at Saturday’s Aultman/Aultcare Canton Marathon Expo in the Memorial Civic Center.

The one-day health and fitness event was held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It drew more than 1,000 people.

Among the runners in attendance was cross-country coach Michael Watson and his family. Running is in their passion.

Explaining his decision to run in the marathon, Watson said: “I’m the coach. I’m supposed to be a model (for my runners).”

His 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, recently caught the running fever and finished her first 5K marathon.

She said she enjoys the sport because it “gives you time to yourself” and keeps her in shape.

Race organizers expect up to 7,500 runners to participate in race events. All net proceeds will fund local health and wellness programs.

Next year’s event features several races, each of a different length. Plus, there is a bike race.

“The whole marathon is really going to appeal to all ages and all abilities,” said Julia Dick, president of the Canton Marathon.

Canton Marathon CEO Stephen Mears expressed excitement for the newness of the 2012 event.

“This is the only time we’re going to have the opportunity to do something for the first time,” he said.

Numerous health and fitness-related businesses promoted their services at Saturday’s Expo.

Among them were local hospitals, massage and fitness centers and the U.S. Army, which held a fitness competition.

A firefighter finished with the most push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups, according to a soldier.

Melinda Daniels represented another vendor, Cincinnati-based Chica Bands, at the Expo. The company sells nonslip hair bands.

The bands are ideal for runners, she said. The company owner is a competitive runner.

“It’s nonslip. It won’t give you a headache,” Daniels said.

Mears said Saturday’s event helped pair health and fitness businesses with their target audience.

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