Introducing our Sister City Ambassadors!

Buoyed by the success of our athlete exchange with the marathon in Dresden, Germany, Greater Columbus Sister Cities International is launching similar programs this year with two more cities – Hefei, China, and Curitiba, Brazil.

Congratulations to the athletes who will represent Columbus at the Hefei International Marathon on October 25,  the Maratona Curitiba on November 15 and the Dresden Marathon on our shared race day, October 18. Meet them all below!

NCHCM Sister Cities.


Rodney Arcaro

Rodney, 43, is a small business owner and graduate of Capital University. He and his wife Liz, who is an elementary music teacher, enjoy running races of various distances – from 5Ks to 50K trail runs. Liz will accompany Rodney to Dresden and will also do the Dresden Marathon. Rodney completed the Berlin Marathon in 2013, and he and Liz also briefly visited Dresden that year.

Sue Frost

Sue, 44, is an Assistant Vice President at The Ohio State University and has lived in Columbus and worked at OSU for 15 years. She has completed many races, including 22 marathons, and a 50K ultra marathon. She enjoys volunteering with Girls on the Run, and believes running and volunteering have strengthened her dedication to Columbus. Sue is looking forward to putting her German language capabilities to use in Dresden.

Joe Giessler

Joe, 29, is an online marketer for TourismOhio and loves to tell the exciting story of Columbus and market it to people. He ran cross country in high school and picked running up again in 2012, and ran his first full marathon at Columbus. Joe is named after his grandfather Joseph Giessler, a German who became a U.S. citizen, and Joe has that citizenship paperwork framed on his living room wall.

Grace Stanislav

Grace, 51, is a pharmacist at Mount Carmel and the mother of three boys. She started actively running nine years ago, and has since completed nine full marathons, including Boston. Her grandmother’s parents came to the U.S. from Dresden, Germany, in the late 1800s, and Grace is excited to visit their home town and Columbus’ sister city.

Mark Steidler

Mark, 28, is a recent graduate of the Fisher College of Business and now works as an Assistant Brand Manager at The Wendy’s Company. He has been running marathons for seven years, and has completed 12 different ones, including the Marine Corps Marathon, the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon and the Columbus Marathon. Mark recently traveled to Curitiba, Brazil, another sister city of Columbus, and experienced first-hand the importance of cross-city relationships that yield cultural and economic benefits.


Bill Burns

Bill, 58, is a business development director for an international law firm who has lived in Columbus for 35 years. He is a veteran of 92 marathons, including the Boston Marathon, which he has completed 15 consecutive times. A race he knows even better is the Columbus Marathon– not only has he completed the race 21 times, including every year since 1999 – but he is Chairman of the Board of the Columbus Marathon. Bill, who participated in a Sister Cities trip to Hefei, China in 2003, is interested in Curitiba not only for the marathon, but also because of his role in his law firm’s Latin American development plans.

Elizabeth McClurg

Elizabeth, 29, is administrative assistant to the Dean of the International Institute for Innovative Instruction at Franklin University. She started running in 2007 and has run in half marathons, marathons, and a Half Ironman 70.3, although her favorite event is the Columbus Marathon. She also competed in the 2015 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island on July 4th. Elizabeth also has served as a shopping host for a visiting Dresden athlete in the Columbus Marathon and is excited to have the chance to represent Columbus in Curitiba and learn about our Brazilian sister city’s culture.

Melanie Paris

Melanie, 44, is a program manager at a locally-own corporate wellness company. She began running in 2009 and ran in her first marathon in 2011. She was the first executive director of Columbus Sister Cities from 2000 to 2005, and also participated on the trip to Hefei in 2003. She has participated in Peace Corps missions to Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea and has studied abroad in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Nigeria. She is excited to visit Curitiba because Brazil was the focus of her Master’s Degree thesis in African Studies, surrounding the repatriation movements of former Brazilian slaves back to Nigeria.


Agnes Igodan

Agnes, 29, works in financial services and has lived in the Columbus area since 2001. A sprinter in high school, she now runs 5Ks, 10Ks, and marathons. As a student at OSU, she became close friends with many international students from China and her best friend that she met at the university now lives in Hong Kong. Agnes has never been to Asia and is excited to be representing Columbus and the local running community in our sister city of Hefei.

Kelly O’Dell

Kelly, 37, works for Fleet Feet Sports and previously worked as a Race Coordinator in the Recreation & Parks Department for the City of Columbus, assisting with dozens of events, including the Columbus Marathon & 1⁄2 Marathon. She has participated in everything from 5Ks to 24-hour endurance runs, and loves giving back to the running community and seeing countries coming together and being side by side. She is excited to share what the city has to offer in Hefei!

Paul Carringer

Paul, 57, is a professor at Columbus State Community College and Franklin University and a local business owner. He has been running for 37 years and has competed in more than 154 marathons, including the Columbus Marathon many times. He also has been a pacer for 35 marathons and sees marathon running as a wonderful vehicle for bringing people of many different lands and cultures together. Paul, a member of the marathon exchange with Dresden in 2012, can’t wait to visit Hefei and represent Columbus.

Searching for this year’s Spirit Award Winners!

Whether you’re running or walking, a novice or an expert, striving for a PR or doing it just for fun, completing a ½ marathon or marathon is no easy feat. While each participant should be proud of their accomplishment, every year we honor a select group of individuals who not only participate, but do so despite adversity.

If you know of a registered race participant who is overcoming a major obstacle while training for the 2015 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon, nominate them for a Spirit Award!

“The Spirit Award is a way for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon to recognize individuals who inspire and embody perseverance and strength. They are a testament to our sport and this event and it’s always an incredible privilege to celebrate them and their accomplishments.” – Darris Blackford, Race Director.

To nominate an individual for a 2015 Spirit Award, please email by Wednesday, August 26 with the following information:

  • The nominee’s name, phone and email address;
  • The nominator’s name, phone number and email address;
  • A 200-word-or-less description of why that person deserves to be recognized.

The board of trustees of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon will 10 select Spirit Award winners; the 2015 event marks the eighth year for the program.

Read about last year’s inspirational winners here:

Join us for RunFest 2015!

Runners and walkers are invited to RunFest 2015, Saturday, July 11, for a day of “Indulgence before Sacrifice”


WHAT: The 6th Annual Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon RunFest – The FREE training kick-off event offers free food, prizes, live music and exhibits from local athletic retailers, running and walking clubs and charity groups. Additionally, all 24 of the 2015 Patient Champions from Nationwide Children’s Hospital will be introduced and participants will get a sneak peek at the 2015 medals and t-shirts. 

WHO: Approximately 1,000 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon participants and guests, the 2015 Patient Champions from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Race Director Darris Blackford.

WHEN: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 1 – 4 p.m.

WHERE: Capital University Field House, The Capital Center, Bexley, OH 43209, Northeast corner of Pleasant Ridge Avenue and Mound Street


Columbus Marathon Runs the World!

NCHCM Sister Cities.

After three years of success with our athlete exchange program in sister city Dresden, Germany, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of two new similar international programs in Hefei, China, and Curitiba, Brazil!

Three athletes will get the chance to represent Columbus at the Hefei International Marathon on October 25, and another trio will take part in the Maratona Curitiba on November 15. As with the Dresden partnership, efforts are under way to have athletes from these two new cities take part in our race on October 18.

The five-day trips to China and Brazil will include race entry, homestay with a local host family, on-site transportation, a post-race reception, and a small travel stipend.

Participants must have a valid passport, be able to obtain a necessary visa, and pay for the remaining cost of travel. To be considered, fill out the application found HERE. and email to Tim Sword with Greater Columbus Sister Cities International at

Deadline to apply is June 30.

PLEASE NOTE : On most browsers / devices clicking the link ‘here’ above will automatically download the PDF application. Please download, complete and submit via email to Thank you.

Boston Marathon Guess-A-Thon Winners!

We are happy to announce our Boston Marathon Guess-A-Thon winners, congratulations! And of course, kudos to all of the Boston Marathon participants, especially our athletes from Ohio!


Boston Marathon Times: 
Ohio Male: Michael Capriolo – 2:31:34
Ohio Female: Emma McCarron – 2:57:07
American Male: Dathan Ritzenhein – 2:11:20
American Female: Desiree Linden – 2:25:39
Boston Guess-a-thon Winners & Guesses:
Ohio Male: Jason Dunaway – 2:31:22
Ohio Female: Jen Kanagy – 2:57:00
American Male: Matt Folk – 2:11:20
Chris Polley: 2:26:15

Represent Columbus in the Dresden (Germany) Marathon!

Fourth Annual Columbus – Dresden Marathon Exchange 

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If you’re a runner and have a passion for different cultures and sharing your own, this is the event for you! You can play an active part in Columbus’ sister city relationships by participating in a marathon in Dresden, Germany.

For the fourth year in a row, Dresden and Columbus will be exchanging five people to run in each other’s marathons. This means we are looking for five people to be an athlete and cultural ambassador of Columbus and participate in the Dresden Marathon & Half Marathon, which coincides with the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon on October 18, 2015.

Here’s what athlete ambassadors receive:


·      Free entry to the Dresden race category of your choice;

·      Lodging with a host family in Dresden for 5 nights (Oct. 15 – 20, 2015);

·      Transportation in Dresden on race weekend;

·      Reception hosted by Dresden city officials;

·      Sightseeing tour of Dresden (hosted by the City of Dresden)

·      A contribution from Dresden Sister City, Inc. and the Columbus Marathon to help support your travel expenses

Here’s what you need to be considered: ·      Valid passport

·      Airfare

·      Interest in foreign cultures

·      A winning attitude!

Interested in learning more, or being considered as Columbus Ambassador or host to a Dresden athlete? Send a note to Dorit Fratzscher at to receive an application form by June 30!

2015 Boston Marathon Guess-a-thon

Each year, close to 20 percent of the participants in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon qualify for the Boston Marathon. (No surprise there – you guys continue to impress every October!) However, you don’t need to be a Boston Marathon qualifier to join the fun of the Boston Marathon!

To celebrate one of the biggest races of the year, we’re bringing back our Boston Marathon Guess-a-thon Contest and giving you FOUR chances to win a $100 Visa gift card! The contest runs from April 12-19, just before the start of the Boston Marathon on April 20th. Post your best guess of the times for the fastest finishers on our Facebook wall. Make sure to get specific – it could all come down to the second!

Here’s how you can win. Guess the finishing times for:

  • Fastest male from Ohio
  • Fastest female from Ohio
  • Fastest American male
  • Fastest American female

Four winners will be chosen – one for each category – and will each receive a $100 Visa gift card!

Contest rules: Winners may only win once, and we will accept the next best guess in order to determine the winner if one participant guesses the right time in more than one category. If ties arise, we will pick a name out of a hat to determine the winners. Share your best guess on our Facebook timeline within the time frame.

Ready, set, guess!

2015 Race Director’s Challenge Results

Our 2015 Race Director’s Challenge has come to an end! This year’s food drive collected 457 lbs of food along with $201 in donations all of which has been given to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

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A big thank you to everyone who donated this year and congratulations to these participants who won free entry into the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon!

  • Michael Taylor
  • Shalene Leddington
  • Tom Shovelton
  • Mark Sheppard
  • Bridget Metz
  • Shelia Porterfield
  • Michelle Schlotter
  • Randy Treer
  • Phillip Bowman
  • Sandy Bradford
  • Susan Richter
  • Abby Wolford
  • Kelly Helton
  • Zita Spoeneman
  • Dara Bullock
  • Peter Droll
  • Lucy Jackson
  • David L Eder
  • Kristy Ward
  • Sherry L Gooch

How far does #CMnation reach? Join our 2015 Registration Heat Map Challenge to find out!

Pinterest Heat MapWith 48 states represented during last year’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and 1/2 Marathon, it’s safe to say #cbusmarathon fever has swept the nation. We want to celebrate our athletes (no matter where they are!) and show just how big the marathon community has become – that’s why you’re invited to join our 2015 Registration Heat Map Challenge!

Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: Register for the 2015 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon or 1/2 Marathon!
  • Step 2: Snap a photo during/after registering. This could be an excited selfie, last year’s race shirt, your registration confirmation page – anything to show you’re pumped for October 18!
  • Step 3: Post your photo on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #CMnation and tell us what city you’re in.

We’ll pin your photo on our Pinterest Map board based on your current city and you’ll officially be a part of #CMnation!

Let’s see just how far the Columbus marathon community reaches. RSVP for registration and our Heat Map challenge here.

You’re invited to our Virtual Flash Mob!

Virtual Flash MobRegistration for the 2015 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon opens Sunday, Feb. 1 and we’re going to celebrate in style! How, you ask? By taking over the internet with a Virtual Flash Mob, of course.

Joining the flash mob is simple (no dancing required!). Just click here to register your Facebook and/or Twitter account, and that’s it! Then, on Feb. 1, Thunderclap will send out the exact same post at the exact same time from the Twitter or Facebook accounts of everyone who joined, creating a Virtual Flash Mob to announce the opening of registration.

There is a catch – the Virtual Flash Mob can only go live if we get at least 100 people to participate, so we need your help! No matter where you are, all participants, spectators and fans of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital are encouraged to come together to help us kick off the start of the incredible journey to the finish line.

Are you in?

Want to get more updates about the Columbus Marathon? Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and join in the conversation with #cbusmarathon.