Introducing the 2020 Spirit Award Winners

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.

You Were Told WHAT?!: Columbus Marathon’s Take on Terrible Running Advice Received by Local Runners and Walkers

We recently asked our Facebook followers to offer up the worst advice received regarding their pursuit of running or walking.

Taking a step back, let’s start with the definition of advice: “Guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent future action…” (or so says the internet)

When advice is good, then by all means follow those thoughts into your future running or walking endeavors. But when it is comes to some of the things posted on our Facebook page, well, our advice would be to run or walk quickly in the opposite direction!

We’ve organized some of the ideas submitted into groups of sorts, and included some commentary from us to help direct you in a better direction.

Training Too Hard:

  • “If you’re not exhausted after a workout, you didn’t work hard enough.”
  • “Go hard all the time” … “Faster is better.”

Workouts can be exhausting, but the idea is to follow a plan that builds over time

Not Training Correctly:

  • “Don’t include speedwork in your training.”
  • “It’s only 13.1 miles, you don’t need to train that hard.”
  • “You don’t need to run to prepare for a marathon, just do crossfit.”
  • “Weekly mileage only has to be as far as the race you’re training for. For example, 13 miles a week will prepare you for a half marathon.”

Countless experts have created helpful training programs that, while different in intensity and purpose, often share a common theme – preparation and planning can lead to success. Perhaps more succinct – you can’t bluff your way through a marathon or ½ marathon!

Nutrition and hydration:

  • Nutrition doesn’t matter.
  • Eat chips and margaritas to carb-load before a race.

We like to eat snacks and enjoy the occasional adult beverages (being of age and all), but your body is like a car engine, and needs proper fueling for maximum performance when training or racing. Good training plans include nutrition advice; the snacks and other indulgences come after the race when it is time to celebrate your accomplishment!

Dealing with injuries:

  • You can run through any injury.
  • Run through the pain.

Dumb. Untrue. Dangerous. If you are injured, stop running or walking and go see a doctor. Feeling an injury coming on? Take off a day or two. Still hurting? Follow the advice we just gave for someone who is injured – go see a doctor.

Bad Advice That Doesn’t Fit Into A Category:

  • Don’t run outside when it’s cold.

We live in Ohio. It will be cold at some point during the year. And with proper clothing, cold-weather running and walking can be amazing!

  • Your body will give up after 4 hours of running.

Our Marathon course limit is 6.5 hours, so your body has at least 2.5 more hours to go! But seriously, train correctly and you will be amazed by what you can accomplish!

  • Running over 3 miles is bad for your heart and joints.

Jumping out of bed having never run or walked a step, sure, but as we’ve stressed already, proper training can put you into a position for a long, healthy running or walking career.

  • You’re too slow to run a marathon. 

Tell that to the thousands of people who have completed our race since 1980. Each year, only one man and one woman has been named the winner. The rest? All earned the same title, regardless of pace: finisher!

Less is More With Your Fall and Winter Running Gear

Columbus Running Company (CRC) is the official retailer of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon. We asked to get their expert advice on running apparel now that the cooler temperatures are upon us. CRC apparel guru, Matt DeLeon, weighs in: 

Chilly days are coming – but that doesn’t mean you have to stop your outdoor run or walk routine!  Whether you are an experienced runner or walker or are just getting started, take this apparel advice to heart and set yourself up to be both comfortable and prepared for anything this winter.  If there is only one thing you remember, make it “Less is More.” 

If you are an experienced runner, there is a good chance you were once told that layering is key.  It remains true – with an important modern twist.  Layering is still key – but with the right apparel, more often than not, two simple layers will be just fine.  Nobody wants to head out for an 8-miler wearing 10 pounds of clothing, with possible added weight due to rain or snow.  The golden rule of “Less is More” reigns here.  Invest in great apparel and you’ll need less of it to be comfortable and safe.  Invest in great apparel and you’ll need to purchase less of it because it lasts longer and does more work for you in a range of conditions.  Let’s break down our layers and look at some examples. 

The Base Layer.  A base layer is a piece of apparel worn close to the body that can wick away moisture.  You can wear a base layer by itself on moderately chilly days, or you can use it as a first layer as conditions get colder.  Avoid cotton here at all costs.  

A versatile, popular choice is the Craft Fuseknit Baselayer.  A body-mapped weave allows for more breathability in important areas, and its seamless construction gives it great movement.  It’s an excellent piece by itself for cool weather running, and fantastic as a cold weather base layer when paired with an outer piece.  View Men’s Here and Women’s Here.   At the simplest level, a light, breathable polyester piece will work.  For example, these ASICS Columbus Marathon long sleeve tops for Men and Women are great against the skin. 

The Outer Layer.   There are two important ways to look at your outer layer.  First, your outer layer is your shield, there to protect you.  What is your worst enemy in the winter?  Surprise, it’s not snow, the Grinch, or Game of Thrones White Walkers.  It’s often wind.  Wind cuts through apparel and makes you cold.  It’ll take any moisture you’ve built up inside and turn you into an icicle.  It’ll also slow you down. You need a layer to handle all that.  Second, your outer layer is a regulator.  It’ll help trap some of your natural body heat to keep you insulated – but also release some of it to maintain air flow so you don’t build up too much moisture, allowing you to stay drier.  The best venting will occur out your back or under your arms and will be structured in a way that air will be gently moving out more than in. 

Look for outer layers that have proper wind blocking in the front.  Even better if the fabric is water resistant or waterproof.  Look for a small vent in the back or under the arms. 

Combine JUST the two above and you’ll find yourself surprisingly warm while also light on the go.  Remember, ideally you’ll feel a little chilly for the first 5-10 minutes of your run or walk.  Your body will heat up quicker than you might expect, and a nice layer of warm air between layers will keep you insulated for the long haul.  With that said, we’ve only covered half of you so far.  Let’s not forget your legs!

The Leggings.   Less is still more here, no need to double up.  If you are a tights person, look for tights that are lined with a brushed, light fleece lining.  A good bang for your buck is the Men’s and Women’s ASICS Thermopolis Tight.  If you plan to work out in the most extreme weather, look for tights or pants that have wind blocking panels in the front – usually over the front of the thighs.  Similar thinking goes towards” jogger” pants, but get ones that taper well around the ankle, so they don’t get in the way of your feet. 

Bonus Features.  The best apparel also tackles other needs you may have on your run. A good piece of cold weather apparel will have places to stash things like your cell phone, keys, gels or other items while keeping them protected. Think tights with a drop-in pocket, pants with zippered pockets, and jackets with “Napoleon” pockets up front to stash things that you don’t want to bounce around.  

Lastly, don’t overlook your safety!  Please get something with reflective properties.  Even hats and gloves come with features offering reflective and wind-blocking properties.  Going beyond apparel, a light-up reflective vest ensures that drivers see you on the run while super bright LED headlamps will light the path ahead of you.

To sum it all up – as you begin to gear up for a great fall and winter of outdoor miles, look for quality over quantity.  Find a couple of great pieces that are extremely functional, provide great comfort, and will last a long time and you’ll be happier for more miles than ever before. 

Meet our 2020 Patient Champions

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon Celebrates 24 Patient Champions Through the 2020 Meaningful Miles Challenge

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon may be canceled due to the pandemic in 2020, but Nationwide Children’s Hospital is pleased to announce the 2020 Meaningful Miles Challenge Patient Champions. Patient Champions represent 24 of the 26 miles on the marathon course. The other two miles, the Encore Mile, will honor former Marathon Patient Champions, and the Angel Mile, will celebrate the lives of those who are no longer with us. 

This year, the Patient Champions will be honored in a socially distant car parade on the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Campus on Sunday, October 18 – the day that would have been the 41st Columbus Marathon. All 24 Patient Champions will be invited to participate as Patient Champions in the 2021 race.

A committee of hospital staff select each year’s Marathon Patient Champions after a review of several inspiring patient stories submitted via the hospital’s social networking sites and Patient Champions, current or former patients of Nationwide Children’s, were chosen based on various criteria, including diversity of diagnosis, age and enthusiasm to cheer on race participants at their mile. A full list of the Patient Champions is below. 

To help fund the lifesaving research and care taking place at Nationwide Children’s, our running and walking community is encouraged to participate in the Meaningful Miles Challenge in lieu of this year’s full and ½ marathon. Through a series of fun challenges and fundraising activities, supporters can commit to 13 or 26 Meaningful Miles activities while fundraising to help make a positive impact to Nationwide Children’s mission. To register, click HERE.

2020 marks the ninth year the hospital is the title beneficiary of the marathon, receiving more than $10 million, including over $1 million from the Columbus Marathon Board of Directors.  

Meet our 2020 Patient Champions:

  • Adrianna, 5, Lima, Ohio — Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Hip Dysplasia, Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Cochlear Implants
  • Andy, 12, Mounds, Oklahoma — Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Gastroparesis
  • Aria, 12, Dublin, Ohio — Ewing’s Sarcoma Cancer
  • Augie, 5, Columbus, Ohio — Pilocytic Astrocytoma Tumor and Stenotrophomonas Maltophilia Infection
  • Bridgette, 17, Powell, Ohio – Major Depressive Disorder
  • Brooklyn, 6, Lima, Ohio – Down Syndrome, Truncus Arteriosus Type 2, Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
  • Claire, 20, Hubbard, Ohio — Coarctation of the Aorta
  • Elyana, 8, Findlay, Ohio – Spina Bifida 
  • Gianni, 5, Blacklick, Ohio – Spinal Muscular Atrophy (type 3)
  • Hailey, 12, London, Ohio – Traumatic Brain Injury 
  • Haruka, 9, Dublin, Ohio – Cerebral Palsy 
  • Jason, 18, Toledo, Ohio – Trisomy 15, Epilepsy
  • Jenna, 16, Hilliard, Ohio — Severe Persistent Asthma, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Vocal Cord Dysfunction, Dysphagia
  • Luna, 16, Columbus, Ohio – Gender Dysphoria, Anxiety, Depression
  • Morgan, 3, Westlake, Ohio — Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Oropharyngeal Dysphagia
  • Neil, 14, Dublin, Ohio — Mixed Phenotype Acute Leukemia (MPAL)
  • Nora, 2, Columbus, Ohio – Intestinal Malrotation
  • Quentin, 7, Columbus, Ohio — Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), Asthma
  • Raegan, 11, Senecaville, Ohio – Apert Syndrome
  • Savannah, 12, Columbus, Ohio – Cushing’s Disease
  • Simon, 7, Hilliard, Ohio — Autism, Epilepsy, Gtube, Eosinophilic esophagitis, ADHD, Keratoderma palmaris et plantaris
  • Sofia, 10, Powell, Ohio — Henoch-Schoenlein Purpura (HSP)
  • Taylor, 16, Carey, Ohio – Bowel Obstruction causing Ovarian Cyst
  • Thomas, 14, South Charleston, West Virginia — Pseudo Obstruction, Severe Food Allergies, Neurogenic Bladder, Osteoporosis

To stay in the know about all current Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon news and information, be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and visit our website at

Running Reads Sure to Inspire

Reading can transport you to new places and inspire you to do great things. Our team loves reading just as much as we love running and walking. Reading about running? Now that’s a win, win!

Even for those of us who can’t get enough of the sport, we find that we can get a similar thrill by digesting it mentally through incredible books written by and for runners. And while others of us love the sport, we sometimes lean on a great book for its abilities to trigger our inner athlete. And guess what? It works!

So, we asked you – our athletes and supporters – of your favorite running books. If you find you have extra time in your day, choose from one of our fan favorites below.

You could never fill your day with too much running or walking, right??


The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Four Minutes to Achieve it

By Neal Bascomb

Once a Runner

By John L. Parker Jr.

Running Home: A Memoir

By Katie Arnold

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon

By Scott Jurek

Run Like a Girl

By Mina Samuels

Born to Run

By Christopher McDougall

25 Hours in a Day

By Nick Bare

Running with the Buffaloes

By Chris Lear

Bowerman and the Men of Oregon

By Kenny Moore

The Four-Minute Mile

By Roger Bannister

Let Your Mind Run

By Deena Kastor

My Life on the Run

By Bart Yasso

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances

By The Oatmeal

The Incomplete Book of Running

By Peter Sagal

Run to Overcome

By Meb Keflezighi

Shut Up and Run

By Robin Arzon


To stay in the know about all current Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon news and information, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and visit our website at



Spirit Awards Aren’t Canceled

For more than a decade, we have honored 10 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, who helped launch the Columbus Marathon in 1980.

While there is no 2020 edition of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, we can all use some inspiration and feel-good stories as we continue to deal with the health crisis.

Following this line of thinking, the 2020 Spirit Awards will honor runners and walkers who are also front-line health care workers (we do partner with a hospital, after all!)

To nominate someone for a 2020 Spirit Award, please email by August 31, with the following information:

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

Read about last year’s inspirational winners HERE.

Turn Frustration into Improvement

Cancellations and postponements of running and walking events due to COVID-19 have left many people understandably disappointed and frustrated.

First off, it’s okay to feel frustrated, even mournful, of this loss – we certainly feel that way about the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon!

But let’s take this time to leverage our frustration and reposition our training outlook. How can you seek benefits from this break in action and better yourself as an endurance runner or walker? You have no pressure, no time limit. Take this as an opportunity to improve in the following ways:

  • Increase your mileage – You have the time to test yourself. Increasing your distance – safely – is something that surely takes time, which is a resource we all have right now as a result of our canceled race. So, if you’re accustomed to running or walking 5 hours per week, work to bump it up to 6 or 7 hours over the course of a month or two and see what happens to your endurance. In time, you should see an improvement to your pace, and you’ll be able to sustain this newfound pace for a longer period of time. Looking farther ahead, start to train for more than 13 miles and you’ll crush our ½ marathon when it returns! Or, take this time to work your way up to the full marathon if you had originally planned to do the half.
  • Recovery – Establish easy days, stick to them, and make your recovery efforts a priority! Slow your pace, lessen your miles, and try to get good rest. This includes good nights of sleep. You’ll begin to see those actions pay off during your longer runs or walks.
  • Switch it up! We love that you’re all about running or walking. You love it, too. But don’t be afraid to incorporate various full-body workouts here and there. Find exercises that target your arms and your back. Having full-body strength – not just leg strength – significantly impacts your form, which in turn will make it easier to complete your long-distance run.
  • Be consistent & (most importantly) stay positive – Not that you weren’t consistent with your training when there was a race, but don’t let cancellations slow you down. Pinpoint that goal (hopefully it’s finishing our half or full marathon) when it returns and keep your eye on it. If you are a person who puts a lot of pressure on yourself in races, or perhaps you weren’t as well-trained as you had hoped going into this now-cancelled event, then this could be a great time to get back to why you run or walk in the first place — for the sheer enjoyment.

Like all things, this pandemic will pass, and we will get back to some sense of normalcy. How will you use the time between now and then to take yourself to a new place with your running or walking?


Putting Your Training to Good Use

You may have put in a full training cycle for a spring race, or were part way into your work toward a fall race such as ours only to have your plans derailed by a coronavirus-forced cancellation.

While you won’t be able to test your fitness for a while at a large, in-person marathon or ½ marathon, that doesn’t mean you wasted your time training. Instead, we asked some local runners to share how they plan to use the base they’ve built to be better when it comes time to race again.

Carence Bennett, 43, of Gahanna, has been running for five years. He’s done the Columbus ½ Marathon three times, and the Marathon twice. In total he’s completed 13 half marathons and four marathons.

“I was prepping for the Brooklyn Half, Columbus Half, Marine Corps and New York before the pandemic. I’m still running five to six times a week and I have incorporated a lot of biking as well.

I’m a very disciplined and goal oriented runner. I’m actually thriving during this pandemic because it’s giving me an opportunity to play around with some different challenges. I did a 30-day challenge where I ran at least a 5K every day and it turned out to be a 120-mile month. My next challenge is seven days straight of seven miles each day.

These type of challenges are keeping me motivated and challenging me at the same time. I have already started to set goals for 2021 so I won’t be stopping anytime soon!”

Ta Trecia Davis, 47, of Pickerington, is co-ambassador of Black Girls Run! Columbus Chapter.  She has been running for five years and has done four marathons and sixteen 1/2 marathons, including Columbus twice.

“Just before the pandemic hit, I was base training for my big race of the year (TCS) New York City Marathon. The shutdown and the pandemic came with a lot of stress and anxieties. COVID-19 took the life of my young cousin and my good friend’s parents all within a few days apart. It was devastating and mentally hard, knowing I couldn’t be there for my love ones. So for weeks, I used excuses for not running.  My coach encouraged me to get back to running to help manage stress and keep the immune system in check.

Being a motivator, encourager, and one who looks to inspire others, I got back to doing what I love to do. It started with 100 miles for a month that quickly turned into doing a run streak. My 2020 goals have changed, it’s about survival while empowering the black community to become healthier. We know this virus is having a major impact in my community. Running is not canceled, nor is our ability to increase the running community. This is our time to enjoy life, because it is a BLESSING to run!”

Jim Jurcevich, 44, of Worthington, co-owner of Columbus Running Company, has been running for 30 years. Among his many running accomplishments is his 2:15:13, second-place finish at the 2003 Columbus Marathon.

“I wasn’t training for anything when the pandemic shut things down and I was only running three or four days a week. Once things came to a standstill, with some encouragement from my family, I started running more to give myself some time to think.

Away from the news feed and the uncertainty stacking up in my inbox, I gradually started adding more miles. I haven’t run this much in a month since 2016 and usually run six days a week now. I’ve been motivated by my co-workers challenging themselves and seeing so many friends from the Columbus running community out on the paths or sharing their stories online, #RallyColumbus.

After years of not racing much I finally signed up for the Columbus 10K; hopefully this will lead me to more consistent racing in the future. My goals as I look towards 2021 are to continue to prepare for another marathon and help more people through coaching.”

Christina Murphy, 39, of Columbus, is a self-employed chiropractor and two-time winner of the Columbus Marathon (2013 and 2018). She has been running since childhood, and has done eight marathons in total.

“When the pandemic really hit and closures began, I was coming off the Olympic Trials (in Atlanta – February 29, 2020). My weekly mileage was a bit lower and it seemed like a good time to recover prior to starting another training stint. I started upping the miles in late May with the hope of racing a quality marathon in October but it became increasingly obvious that we wouldn’t be having any more races in 2020.

With all of the uncertainty and stress that comes during these times, running has provided a great amount of stress relief and has been a positive outlet. I’ve chosen to keep my mileage up enough to maintain a good base, but haven’t done much in the way of hard workouts. My current focus is on staying healthy and avoiding injuries until it’s time to lock into more serious training and race again. Some of my better training cycles have come out of long periods of easy but quality base mileage.

I think running serves a different purpose for each of us. We like having the option to train for something specific because having a goal gets us out the door every day and the race provides gratification and reward for that training. Sometimes, there’s beauty in enjoying the journey even without a big event at the end. 2021 hopefully will bring an increase in race participation and fast times, and I look forward to joining our running community back at the starting line!”


Join the “Meaningful Miles” Challenge!

Exciting Fundraising Initiative Supports Nationwide Children’s Hospital In Lieu Of Canceled 2020 Marathon & ½ Marathon

As you know, it was with great sadness that we had to cancel the 2020 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon (NCHCM). Not only was it an incredible event for runners, walkers and the community as a whole, but it was a key fundraiser for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

This incredible partnership began in 2012, and we’re proud to say we’ve raised $10 million for the hospital along the way. So, we aren’t about to let the cancellation of our 2020 event stop our community from supporting the work of this wonderful institution.

Introducing the Meaningful Miles challenge!

The premise is simple – take part in 13 or 26 Meaningful Miles activities to celebrate your love for running or walking and support Nationwide Children’s Hospital through a series of fun challenges and fundraising activities. Here’s how it will work:

  • Fundraise to help find cures, save lives and create best outcomes for kids here and around the world.
  • There is no minimum fundraising requirement. Earn incentives as you reach various fundraising milestones. Every dollar makes a difference!
  • Choose the impact you want to make. You can designate the funds you raise to support any program at the hospital.
  • Once your register, you will receive a step-by-step Meaningful MilesChallenge Guide and digital toolkit to make getting started as easy as possible.
  • Receive invitations to special Nationwide Children’s Hospital Insider “events”.
  • There is a list of Meaningful Miles challenges for inspiration, but you are more than welcome to make up your own!

“Our event is hands-down the most meaningful marathon and 1/2 marathon in the country,” said Race Director Darris Blackford. “We knew canceling the race due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was the right thing to do for the safety of our athletes, staff, volunteers, first responders and the general public, but we couldn’t let this stop us from supporting Nationwide Children’s Hospital and our Patient Champions. The Meaningful Miles challenge is the perfect opportunity for the running and walking community to come together to support our cause.”

To register, visit: Or to make a donation, click HERE.


Originally scheduled to take place on October 18, the 2020 NCHCM was cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. All registered participants received a full refund. In 2019, the NCHCM celebrated its 40th anniversary of the full marathon, and its 14th year for the half marathon. A total of $10 million has been raised since Nationwide Children’s Hospital was named the title beneficiary of the Columbus marathon in 2012.

For the most recent news and information regarding the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon, and the Meaningful Miles challenge, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon Cancelled For 2020 Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

All registered participants to receive full refund

The 2020 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In taking the action, the event’s Board of Trustees also voted unanimously to provide a full refund of registration fees for 2020 registrants.

In 2019, the Marathon celebrated its 40th anniversary, and was one of the 20th largest marathons in the country. The ½ marathon, the largest in Columbus, enjoyed its 14th anniversary last year. The 2020 race was scheduled for Sunday, October 18.

“No one at the finish line last October could have anticipated that we would cancel the event for this year, but it is absolutely the correct thing to do,” said Board Chairman Dan Leite. “The safety of our athletes, volunteers, first responders, team and the entire community is the top priority for our event.  With the ongoing pandemic and based on consultation with our valued partners at Nationwide, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the City of Columbus, it became quite apparent to the Board that the best way to protect everyone’s safety would be to cancel our event for 2020.  It was a very difficult decision to make but one we strongly believe is in the best interest of everyone involved.”

“We are grateful for the organizing committee, the volunteers, the community members, the Columbus Marathon board of trustees, and for Nationwide who make the event America’s most meaningful marathon,” said Steve Testa, President, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “This is the right decision and while this news might disappoint in the short term, our 128-year-old mission is not taking a break. Kids still get cancer, babies are still born prematurely. We look forward to working with everyone to help children.”

“We know that the board made this difficult decision in the interest of public health, and we support them,” said Nationwide Vice President of Corporate Citizenship Chad Jester. “Nationwide will continue its long-standing support of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the great work its doctors, nurses and researchers do to help families in central Ohio and all over the world, including our commitment tied to this year’s race.”

“One of my favorite things to participate in each October is the countdown for the start of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon. The Columbus Marathon draws thousands of visitors from across the United States and has showcased our great city to the world for more than 40 years,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.  “I applaud the event organizers and the leaders of Nationwide Children’s Hospital for putting the safety of participants and the greater Columbus community first.”

Since 2012, the event has raised $10 million for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the marathon’s benefiting charity. In that time, nearly 200 patients or former patients of the hospital have lined the route as Marathon Patient Champions, cheering on participants and representing and advocating for the many children and families that are cared for at Nationwide Children’s.

“It pains us to not be able to bring our race forward in 2020, but these are no ordinary times,” said Race Director Darris Blackford. “Everyone has faced changes to our ‘normal’ ways of life. When you think about the best health and safety practices needed to help slow the spread of the virus, holding a major running footrace isn’t the responsible thing to do right now.”

Registered athletes will receive specific instructions in coming weeks about how to obtain their refund for the 2020 event. The Board also decided against offering a deferral option of registration fees for a future year’s race.

Since the Marathon’s combined partnership with Nationwide and Nationwide Children’s, registrants have been able to fundraise on behalf of the hospital as Children’s Champions. Hospital supporters will still have a chance to fundraise for the patients and families the hospital cares for and there will be a future announcement about fundraising activities.