Grab your sneakers and hold on to your energy domes: the 5KDEVO, Sunday, July 30, is the only area race to celebrate one of Akron’s most unique cultural exports.
The race, which kicks off at Lock 3 in downtown Akron at 8 a.m., will celebrate all things DEVO, in honor of the world renowned band that formed here in 1973 under the philosophy of the “de-evolution” of society and whose members have went on to fruitful careers: in music, visual art, cinema and even wine-making.
The event is the brainchild of Race Director and Akron native Jim Chaney, who’s also been running the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon in Canton for the past five years. He wanted to start a race in town that was patently Akron.
Many Akronites know of DEVO, but don’t really know details about the band, like where they attended school and just how influential they are to American culture, says Chaney. “The race is going to be unique, because it’s DEVO and Akron, and we’re going to take runners through the progression of the history of the band,” he adds. “Every quarter mile, there’s going to be a large banner that gives you a snapshot in time. For example, the first banner runners will see at .25 miles, will say, “The beginning was the end, DEVO is from O-H-I-O,” and has pictures of them as kids, along with information about where they went to elementary school in Akron.
The race also will feature DEVO icons, like a water station at Bartges Street, where the volunteers will all dress like “Booji Boys,” one of the many characters in the band’s mythos.
Runners will receive a “devolved” race T-shirt, 3-D glasses and a two-sided DEVO finisher medal. The race also will be tied to the annual DEVOtional 2017 event (scheduled at The Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29), which Chaney hopes will eventually be moved to Akron.
The 5KDEVO will bring in people from 29 different states and is a “run/walk” race, meaning you don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to compete. In fact, Chaney believes the race will draw die-hard DEVO fans, who are more interested in the merch than the running.
“This is purely Akron,” he says.
Race registration is $35 for adults and $20 for those 17 and under. For info and to register, visit runsignup.com/Race/OH/Akron/5KDEVO or www.clubdevo.com. For more about Chaney’s race productions, visit runtoyouracing.com.