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.

New Year’s Race Director Challenge

Win Free Entry, Help Feed Others

A win-win to start your New Year off on the right foot!

Happy New Year to our Columbus Marathon family! Perhaps part of your New Year’s resolution is to run the 2015 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon or 1/2 Marathon? If so, our Race Director Challenge gives you a chance to win one of 20 free entries for our race – while doing good for our community!

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Once again, we will hold a food drive throughout the month of January. Simply drop off non-perishable food items at any of the following Columbus-area running stores – Columbus Running Company (4 locations), Fleet Feet,  Front Runner (2 locations), or Second Sole (2 locations – new location opening soon!). When you do, fill out an entry form for a chance to win one of 20 free entries into our 2015 Marathon or ½ Marathon. Only one entry per person will be accepted.

So, what is the “Challenge” part? We want to collect 2,015 items! All the goods we collect will be donated to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. Help us achieve this goal and get one step closer to achieving yours, all while helping others!


This post is the fifth and final in a series of guest posts by Eric Motter for the 2014 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon. Read his firstsecondthird and fourth in the series. 

I came into this whole thing with the goal of knocking 13 minutes off my PR – set this past spring — to reach a new goal of a sub-2:00 half marathon. It was going to be a tall task, no doubt.

If you’ve read my blogs through the summer, then you know I’ve had my ups and downs throughout my training, but this last month has been fantastic. Randy “Bones” Benedict and the team at Second Sole had my long and mid-range runs structured to build speed and to build my mental confidence so I would have some kick left in my legs after running several miles at race pace. During my most recent long runs I was able to stay ahead of race pace, even on the morning where the hail – I swear to God – was blowing up from the ground. I didn’t know it was possible to inhale hail through my nose when my head was bowed in search of protection.

I made it to race day ready to go. I was healthy. I was driven. I was hungry. I was ready to run a 1:59:59. Here’s my race day story… All times are my watch time splits and may not correspond 100% with my official splits since my GPS watch says I ran 13.23 miles instead of a tangent-perfect 13.1.

Pre-race – It was a balmy 45 degrees when I got out of my car at t 6:35 am. Once I found the B corral, I bumped into my cousin, Tim Miller, wished him luck for his race, then found the 4:00 marathon pace team, which included my friend and Chairman of the Columbus Marathon Board of Trustees Bill Burns. My strategy was to keep Bill within sight for the first 11 miles, pull even with him at mile 12, and then finish strong. I just needed to keep a 9:08 pace to hit my goal.

When the starting gun sounded, everyone started throwing their warm weather clothes up in the air in a scene reminiscent of what supermodels do every time they see Randy on the sidewalk.

Mile 1 – 9:20 – I started too far behind Bill. By the time I reached the starting line, the 20 yards of distance between us had ballooned to about 75 yards. I hit the one mile marker a little bit off pace, but still in decent shape.

Mile 2 – 9:01 – Back on pace, and I got a lift by seeing my wife at the 2-mile mark.


Mile 3 – 8:59 – Perfect, and I was about 50 yards behind Bill.


Mile 4 – 8:59 – Still perfect.


Mile 5 – 9:01 – Perfect again, and I got waves and screams of encouragement when I saw my parents just before the corner of Drexel and Main. The crowd in Bexley was as amazing as it has been every other year I’ve run the race. At this point my watch distance was about 50 yards off the course measured distance, so I was doing the mental math to make sure I was still on pace.


Mile 6 – 9:05 – Wow! I just ran my last five miles within 6 seconds of each other. I was feeling great, and wasn’t seesawing my pace, which had been a problem during training.


Mile 7 – 9:24 – A combination of the narrowing of Nelson Rd, a mistake I made at the water station, and heading back uphill on Broad slowed me down a bit, but I was still ahead of my target pace.


Mile 8 – 9:09 – Back on pace and feeling strong, especially with the encouragement of the crowd in front of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, but Bill had put some distance between us.


Mile 9 – 9:05 – Still feeling strong heading into German Village.


Mile 10 – 9:02 –I ran into my friend (“actually, we’re just good friends”) Kevin Ryan right before the 10 mile mark, where his “Yeah Eric!!! Keep it going!!!” and a fist bump punctuated by a “BAM” was like eating two energy shots. Holy cow, I think I’m gonna make it.


Mile 11 – 9:25 – Perhaps due to my foolish exuberance, my eleventh mile started well, but there were signs of bonkage in the last couple hundred yards. What was happening to my legs?


Mile 12 – 10:06 – Here’s where things fell apart for me. I had to slow down coming back up High Street into downtown, finish the last drop of energy gel that I had and try to get my stuff back together.


Mile 13 – 9:03 – 9:03? On my thirteenth mile? My stuff was officially back together, but it was too late. The damage in mile 12 was too much to overcome.


Last 0.23 miles – 1:51 – I finished like a freight train, crossing the finish line in an official 2:01:30.

My goal was 1:59:59, and I finished in 2:01:30, but the title of this blog is Success. So what gives? Yes, I missed my goal, but I consider the last several months – and my race –successful for several reasons:

  • I got to connect and hang out with my old friend Randy Benedict. When we were kids he was the Goose to my Maverick. Now our roles have reversed. I’m the Garfunkel to his Simon.
  • I got to be trained by the best of the best. See the bullet point above.
  • Nike sponsored me, and the team at Second Sole made me a custom shirt for the race.
  • I knocked 11:25 off my previous PR, which was set only a few months ago. 11:25. Seriously, 11:25. After the race I was so disappointed that I fell short of my 1:59:59 goal that the magnitude of 11:25 didn’t immediately sink in. I ran this race 52 seconds/mile faster than the race I ran in May.
  • Finally, falling short of my goal means I’m going to be working my butt off over the winter to break 2 hours next year. After coming so close, I’m even more motivated.

I want to thank everyone for reading about my trials and tribulations, my friends for putting up with my excuses for why I can’t have a beer the night before a run, and my wife for picking up the slack at home created by me carving out time for my runs. I especially want to thank Randy Benedict and the team at Second Sole for taking me on as a project. I learned a lot from you guys and am motivated to turn the corner next year and go low…

Medal Mishap

As a Race Director and a runner, it was my worst nightmare. I spend thirteen months a year doing everything I can to make this race an individually special experience for a group of 18,000 people. Further, I have a team of 20 in addition to 3,000 volunteers who put everything they can into achieving this same goal. Yesterday, our finish line was not the one I imagined. My disappointment in that is profound. My job is to oversee each and every aspect of this race, and this year, circumstances beyond my control resulted in your disappointment. For that, my team and I are truly sorry.

About 1/6th of our field did not get their medals placed around their necks at the finish of their race. Many of you were rightfully upset and wanted an explanation; to provide an explanation, I need to tell a story.

We ordered our medals in June, almost five full months ahead of the race. As most races of our size do, we had to order the medals from a company overseas. Shipping is always a challenge, but we’d ordered in the same timeframe as many years past and had no concerns.

The first week of September, however, a typhoon hit Japan and significantly delayed our medal shipment. Our medals were still due to be on US soil by October 11, and duly arrived in Long Beach, CA on October 11. They were due to be headed to Columbus that Monday, and while the timeline was close, I breathed a lengthy sigh of relief. Unfortunately, due to the backlog of shipments created by the typhoon, the medals were further held up in processing, and I faced the difficult task of preparing crisis communications that were due to go out to our participants on Saturday evening. Having to draft an email to you announcing that we would not have your finishers medals at the end of Sunday’s race was one of the hardest things I have ever faced in my professional life.

Instead, I learned late Friday evening that U.S. Customs had finally released our medals. Knowing from our vendor that there were no cargo flights available that Saturday, let alone for same day shipping, I still had my PR team prepared to launch our communications strategy; there was simply too much space between Long Beach, CA and Columbus, OH to get this done in a day. In addition, we still had an Expo to run, a start/finish area to build, and all of our usual race weekend preparations to attend to.

The man who was in charge of shipping, Allen Lam, felt personally responsible for getting these medals to us on time. Meanwhile, members of my team were also working together on my behalf – without my involvement – because they too shared the importance of the finisher’s medal. So began the epic one-day journey of your finishers medals, as Allen and a colleague picked up all 18,000 medals and started their journey from Long Beach, CA to Columbus, OH late Friday night. They worked in shifts to keep going and not lose time, with an ETA in Columbus of 6 am on race day – Sunday morning.

My team pulled together like never before, coordinating with Allen, learning geography (CA-AZ-NM-OK-MO-IL-IN-OH), getting almost hourly updates the day and night before the event. An entire team was working at high speed – but contending with speed limits and time zones – to make this right, and an entire team of volunteers was on-call to unwrap and hang these medals for you the moment they arrived, and before you reached the finish line.

Unfortunately, Allen lost some time in construction zones in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and the medals, both fortunately and unfortunately, arrived at the finish line at 9:30 a.m. What appeared chaotic and perhaps even happenstance to some onlookers was truly anything but: it was our desire to get these medals into your hands before you left that finish line. Hence the golf carts and forklifts, and in some instances, the still wrapped medals. We know that something is lost in not having the medal placed around your neck; we also know these were extraordinary circumstances.

We absolutely understand the frustration and irritation with the medal situation. We know that some of you may feel a moment was lost that can never be recaptured. For that, again, we are truly sorry and we will make sure that each person who missed their medal receives it promptly.

If needed, please email info@columbusmarathon.com with your mailing address and we will make sure that each person who wasn’t able to get their medal, will receive one.

I am so truly grateful to each of you for choosing our race, as well as your patience and grace with this situation, and I hope that you enjoyed the rest of an inspiring Race Day!


Darris Blackford

Tip #26: Marathon & Half Marathon-Inspired Quotes for a Job Well Done!

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’ll be sharing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” to make sure you’re ready to go on race day. Click here to read them all, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Whether you were the winner of the marathon or the last to cross the finish line – you all went the distance today. So, as you’re sitting in your bath of Epsom Salt and squeezing every last ounce of Biofreeze onto your weary muscles, take in some of the marathon and half marathon-inspired quotes below. Please know that by participating in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon or 1/2 Marathon, you not only made a difference in your life, but you made a difference in the lives of children who get care from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, regardless of their ability to pay. Kudos to you!

“The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever.” – Unknown

“Life is for participating, not for spectating.” – Kathrine Switzer, first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” – Frank Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

“Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running.” – Julie Isphording, Columbus Marathon winner

“The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race, it’s to test the limits of the human heart.” – Bill Bowerman, legendary University of Oregon track coach

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.” – Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist

“Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.” – Steve Prefontaine

“If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.” – Rob de Castella, winner 1983 world marathon championships

“The marathon can humble you.” – Bill Rodgers, four-time Boston Marathon Champion

And we are humbled that you’ve chosen to participate in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon. We look forward to seeing you next year on Oct. 18th!

Tip #25: Race tips from the Board

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’ll be sharing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” to make sure you’re ready to go on race day. Click here to read them all, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Our Board is an active board in more ways than one — between the 12 of them, they’ve completed more than 300 marathons. So we thought we’d ask the experts and find out what their best Race tips are and share them with you here!

Tip 25 - TIps from the Board

The Night Before

Lay it all out – Avoid race day anxiety and rushing around by laying out EVERYTHING you’ll need the night before.

Parking Plan – Know where you’re going and where you’re parking. Plan for it to take you at least double the time it usually would to get there. Check out the road closures here and see how you can reserve a spot ahead of time here.

Visualize – Visualize the start with a smile while everyone cheers you on, a smooth run with a calm breath and a steady pace, each neighborhood with huge crowds and funny signs, running through the pain as your training kicks in, the finish line with elation and what an awesome accomplishment! Through visualization our dreams come true.

Race Morning

Get there early! – We can’t say it enough – get there early! Avoid any unneeded race day anxiety by getting to the start line early. This will allow you some extra time should something unexpected arise (i.e. – traffic delays, long restroom lines, etc). Save your energy for the race and not a frantic run from the parking garage to the start line.

No Firsts – You shouldn’t do anything for the first time – from the food you eat to what’s on your feet: breakfast, clothes, shoes, Gatorade and Gu should already be tested.

Protein – Protein is always a good thing the morning of the race.

Stay Warm – Even with the addition of hotspots (outdoor heaters in the corrals) you can still get chilled. Use an oversized trash bag to stay warm. Take a bag and cut a hole for your head at the bottom of the bag. Once the race begins, all you have to do is throw it away!      

Race Day Experience 

Pace – Relax and don’t get too excited before and during the first few miles. Trust your training and stay true to your pace.

Take it all in – Once you arrive, take it all in, the sights, the sounds and the smells. This experience will never happen exactly this way ever again, so soak in every step. Entertainment and Patient Champions will be at every mile to keep you going. Remember, you’ve worked hard for this – enjoy it!

Post Race

Celebrate – Congratulations! You have crossed the finish line and completed an amazing feat. Regardless of distance, pace and records, it is time to reward yourself and Celebration is the perfect place to do so. Reunite with friends and family, shake out our legs, visit the vendors, feast on food from local food trucks, enjoy live entertainment and remember to hit that PR Gong!

Recover – Check out Dr. Darrin Bright’s tips on how to recover appropriately here.

Meet this year’s Spirit Award Winners

On October 19, there will be 18,000 people with 18,000 stories to share about why they are running or walking the course’s 13.1/26.2 miles. Some will be achieving a life-long fitness goal, some will be retaining tradition by running the Columbus Marathon for the 35th time and thousands of others will celebrate the triumph of mind, body and spirit that has come through training for this year’s race. 

Since 2007, the Columbus Marathon and ½ Marathon has recognized individuals who have overcome major obstacles while training. The Spirit Award is given to those whose strength; dedication and perseverance motivate us, inspire us and oftentimes, moves us to joyful tears.

Though there are 18,000 stories to share, we will share those of this year’s Spirit Award winners in our blog through the weeks leading up to the race. If you see them at the race, give them a high five!

Guy Margiotta, Hilliard, OH

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This Sunday, Guy will walk the ½ Marathon in honor of his daughter, Sophia Rose.  Sophia Rose was 12 years old when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and died three days after the diagnosis.  Guy and his wife, Missi, became involved in the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Team-in-Training program and have made it their crusade to raise money for blood cancer research. Guy’s optimism and spirit to find a cure for blood cancer has inspired the group, Sophia’s Stars, a group of 13 members who will participate in this year’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon to honor Sophia and raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma.

Bill Reed, Louisville, Kentucky

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The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will bring Bill one stride closer to his goal. This Sunday, Bill will be running his 48th marathon, making him just two races away from his goal of 50. Bill has been running in marathons for more than 30 years, including qualifying for the Boston Marathon 15 times and participating five times. However his course over the past 30 years has not been smooth. After dealing with back surgery, Bill also was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 2011. While this made reaching his goal more difficult, he refused to let it keep him from his love of running. Bill plans to complete his 50th race in his hometown of Louisville.

Jenness Sigman, Bellbrook, Ohio

with jeanne

last day at NCH

For 20-time marathon participant Jenness, running has always been a part of her life, however, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon has taken on a new meaning for her. Jenness was forced to put running on hold after her son, Payne, was in a horrible car accident.  Payne suffered major brain trauma and required extensive rehabilitation at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, during which, Jenness stayed at the Ronald McDonald House to attend Payne’s daily therapy sessions. Jenness and her family have focused on giving back by donating the “Play for Payne” funds their community raised for them to a local fire department and through numerous contributions to the Nationwide Rehab unit. They will continue to support Nationwide Children’s this Sunday when Jenness and others will be running with Payne’s name on their backs in honor of Payne and the care he received.

Tip 24: Know the Inclement Weather Policy

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’ll be sharing “26 Tips for 26.2 Miles” to make sure you’re ready to go on race day. Click here to read them all, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Our friend and weatherman extraordinaire, Marshall McPeek, gave us a recap of race-day weather since 2002 – can you believe that in all those years we have only had ONE day with a trace amount of rain?

So far Sunday’s forecast is looking pretty good, but in the event of less than desirable weather, you should know the inclement weather policy.

Tip 24 - weather

Inclement Weather Policy

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon puts the safety of its participants, spectators, staff and volunteers first. Dangerous weather conditions pose a unique challenge to an event the size of a Marathon or half Marathon. Therefore we have adopted the following Inclement Weather Policy:

Weather forecasts will be monitored prior to the event, with special attention placed on the possibility of heavy rain, thunder and lightning, high winds and extreme temperatures. If necessary, athletes will be made aware of these conditions and possible dangers which could result on the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon website (www.columbusmarathon.com), as well as through other means of communication such as e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and public address announcements.

The Race Director and Medical Director, in consultation with law enforcement, fire/EMS and other officials, will monitor the weather and make a decision if any action will be taken to modify the race. Possible changes include: Altering the start time or in extreme situations, cancellation of the event. Visible lightning will cause the race to be postponed for a minimum of 30 minutes. Additional sightings will continue to delay the race in 30-minute increments.

If extremely high heat and humidity is predicted, extra water will be provided to the athletes, both prior to, during and after the event. The medical team will be alerted that athletes may require additional medical attention during and after the event due to these conditions. If it is felt that it is unsafe for participants to start the race due to severe temperatures and humidity, the race may be cancelled.​

Race personnel reserve the right to delay, cancel, or suspend the race due to inclement weather. Participants must abandon the race if ordered to do so by the race personnel, medical staff, fire or police personnel.