For more than a decade, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon has honored a group of people each year who have inspired others by their efforts to overcome obstacles or challenges to take part in our race.
The official name of the program is the Lashutka Spirit Awards, named to honor former Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka. Lashutka helped launch the Columbus Marathon in 1980.
There is no 2020 edition of our race, but we are still honoring a special group of runners and walkers who are also front-line health care workers. We are honored to introduce you to the following five incredible athletes as our 2020 Spirit Award winners:
- Gemma Hoskings — Gemma is a nurse who works at Equitas Health serving the underprivileged community here in Columbus, and she has been on the frontline of testing and helping patients with COVID-19 since March. In 2018, she decided to overhaul her lifestyle and eating habits to become vegan and ran her first half marathon in Columbus. One year later, she completed her first full marathon, the Flying Pig. Gemma had planned to get married in July 2020 but with family in England, and the restrictions of COVID, she and her fiancé found this to be impossible. Knowing the long-term realities of COVID and her call to serve her patients, she and her fiancé held a small ceremony without her family and friends from abroad, and decided against a honeymoon because this would have meant time away from her patients. Recently, Gemma ran her first ultra-marathon at Burning River, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, completing 50 miles in 11 hours. Next, Gemma has her heart set on participating in the RacingThePlanet – 4 Deserts Ultra-Marathon Series. Through her participation, she wants to raise money to help underprivileged communities here in Columbus get access to better medical care. She runs to fuel positive changes in healthcare.
- Andrea Brun — Andrea is a nurse practitioner in the Plastic Surgery Department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Growing up with a sibling with special needs, Andrea quickly saw the importance of advocating for a loved one’s well-being. This seems to have shaped not only how she treats people on a daily basis, or how she is a loving mother to her own children, but when she puts on her white coat, she is often thinking one step ahead for her patients and families. She’s never too busy to answer a question or help problem solve for a patient’s need. Sadly, Andrea suffered the loss of her brother, which seems to be a huge driving force in her life to remain positive, to help people, and to stay physically fit. In 2019, Andrea completed her first marathon, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, after previously conquering the ½ marathon in years prior, again supporting the families and patients of NCH through the Children’s Champion fundraisers.
- Michelle Clark — Michelle ran the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus ½ Marathon and finished in 1:27:33 as the 29th female. She moved to New York City in the spring and started a one-year fellowship as an advanced practice acute care provider at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital. Due to the pandemic, she has been working directly with COVID patients for long hours far away from home. When she finds the time, she has continued to train virtually with her Rogue Racers teammates in Ohio. She recently set the team record for having the fastest mile by a female at 5:22. Michelle’s friends are incredibly proud of the long hours of mentally, physically, emotionally challenging work she is doing.
- Jared Moore — Jared has completed the Columbus Marathon eight times, including the last six years in a row, and set a new PR last year at 2:37:45 when he finished 26th overall. He works at Ohio State’s Martha Morehouse Outpatient Care Facility where his primary responsibility is overseeing the residency program. During the pandemic, in addition to seeing patients, Jared helped guide residents and faculty in the transition to telehealth and back to clinic again. Working up to 16-hour days during the pandemic has not allowed him to run as much as he normally would, but he still tries to find the time when he can. A member of the Rogue Racers team, he recently set the team record for the fastest mile with a time of 4:44.
- Lori Quick — This year has been a year of changing plans for Lori, a pharmacist for Community Hospitals in Indianapolis and marathon runner. Mid-March, Lori was trained and poised to hold a very strong pace at the 2020 Boston Marathon. The race’s switch to September and eventual switch to virtual was a hard hit for her. Many changes have happened at work including her unit switching into a COVID unit. She continued daily to do her best for her patients. The biggest challenge for Lori this year is that she was supposed to get married at the end of May. They chose to move their wedding to August, but even that was full of complications. Four weeks from their new wedding date, they had to change venues. They handled it all in stride, and the wedding ended up being a beautiful event. During all of this, running has been a way to balance the stress and keep her grounded. Lori will be racing a half marathon this fall with her new (perfect for running) last name, Quick.