A Silver Lining

Why NOW is the Best Time to Start Running or Walking

The unprecedented coronavirus (or COVID-19) has left many Americans in a state of shock and fear. We’re facing new levels of anxiety as we try to cope with the new normal. For some, the new normal is juggling challenges never before faced: financial hardship, homeschooling, isolation. Our daily lives, as we knew them, have been interrupted by this time of war, and many of us are wondering what we can do to find that solace and engage in behavior rewarding to our mental health.

This is where exercise comes in. Perhaps one glimmer of hope is the pleasant change in weather conducive to outdoor activities, which many of our trusted health officials have strongly recommended. But with gyms, basketball courts and parks closed, running and fitness walking are great realistic, attainable physical activities that anyone can do right now.

Columbus is full of runners and walkers alike gracing the neighborhoods, bike paths and nature trails. If this is you, keep it up! And if you’re used to integrating such physical activity on a daily basis, please offer your encouragement to those new to the sport. And remember, running or walking can be for anyone of any age, size or background. Nothing is holding you back – not even COVID-19.

If you have recently started running/walking on a daily basis – or thinking about it — good for you! Here are some points to consider:

  • You don’t need a lot of gear to get started. Wear appropriate, comfortable clothing and a good pair of running/walking shoes. (Visit local running stores’ websites to browse for new apparel, if needed, and they’ll deliver!)
  • Enjoy yourself! Don’t worry about how fast or how far you go. It isn’t about training, just trying. More experienced runners and fitness walkers are notorious for tracking miles, pace, heart rate, etc., but there is no need to go down that road – if you stick with it, there will be plenty of time for that. Soon, you will begin to see and feel the benefits.
  • Speaking of feeling the benefits, physical exercise – especially outdoors – is one of the best, easiest, cost-effective ways to feel happy and relaxed. Mental health benefits are known to include stress management, a boost in brainpower, a calmer state of mind, and enhanced productivity.

Is this all starting to sound beneficial? We think so too.

If you still have questions, concerns, or need some encouragement, join the #cbusmarathon community Saturday, April 4 at 7:20 a.m. for a virtual pre-run (or walk) gathering. Chat with Race Director Darris Blackford and fellow Columbus runners before dispersing. Visit our Facebook page to find the link. Whether you’re an avid competitive marathoner, or one lacing up your running shoes for the first time, we look forward to seeing you there!


Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Extends Partnership with Nationwide

Nationwide Children’s Hospital will remain title beneficiary of the event through 2024.

The Columbus Marathon and Nationwide announced today that they have renewed their partnership for the annual running and walking event through 2024. The two organizations also announced that Nationwide Children’s Hospital will remain the title beneficiary of the event for the next five years.

When the initial three-year agreement was signed eight years ago, Nationwide gifted the naming rights of the event to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, creating the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1⁄2 Marathon. The event has raised more than $9 million for the Hospital since 2012.

“We’re excited to extend this incredible community collaboration for another five years,” said Kirt Walker, Nationwide’s Chief Executive Officer. “The partnership has exceeded expectations in terms of impact and results for our community. We’re immensely thankful for all the support given over the years, and we encourage corporate partners who aren’t yet involved to consider joining us to support this important cause.”

Other major corporate sponsors of the event since the partnership was formed include L Brands Foundation and The Dispatch Media Group. Additionally, the Columbus Marathon Board has donated $1.2 million during the last eight years.

Race participants also have the opportunity to contribute by making a voluntary gift at registration or joining the “Children’s Champion” fundraising program organized by Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Gifts from the community are also welcome.

Dan Leite, Chairman of the 11-member Marathon Board of Directors, said the decision to renew was easily made, while the length of the agreement showcases the strength and benefits that have resulted from the partnership. This is the second consecutive time the partnership has been extended for five years.

“This partnership and our event have always centered around befitting our community, as this amazing joint effort has led to an incredible level of support for Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” Leite said. “Our Board is extremely excited about our continued efforts to enable the hospital to make miracles happen for children and their families.”

“We want to thank Nationwide and the Columbus Marathon Board of Directors for their continued support of Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” said Nationwide Children’s Hospital CEO Tim Robinson. “During the past eight years this partnership has proven how engaged the runners and the community are as a whole in supporting us.”


Darris Blackford, Race Director, said specific benefits from the partnership include increased awareness for the race, which has led more businesses to provide in-kind support of products and services and their employees to volunteer as a way to “give back” to a far-reaching community- minded event.

“We are finding a high level of support as a result of partnering with an institution as important as Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” Blackford said. “Whether people are running, walking, volunteering or providing support, it is for the kids.”

Each year, each of the 24 miles of the Marathon features a patient from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. These “Patient Champions” and their families cheer on athletes and serve as a visual reminder of how the event helps ill and injured children. Additionally, children who participated as Patient Champions in previous years gather at one spot known as “the Encore Mile,” while another is “the Angel Mile” to honor children who have passed away. To learn about all the patients and ways to get involved, please visit www.NationwideChildrens.org/Marathon.




Reflections on 2019

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Race Director Darris Blackford offers his insights on the 40th anniversary event.

Not only was this a big anniversary year for our Marathon, but it also marked my 10th race as Director.

Each of those 10 events had stand-out moments, things that went very well and things we could improve with fixes to the next year’s race.  This year was no different, but I am always relieved when the “right” outweighs the need to fix!

Last Sunday, a lot of things went very right, because of the hard work of many people.

*My Team of 25, plus an expanded race-weekend crew: Throughout the year, there are 25 key individuals working with me on different areas of the race, and we add to the list for the crunch work done on race weekend. They are specialists, focused on specific things; I work with them to pull it all together in a timeline that merges at 7:30 a.m. on the third Sunday of October, bolstered by our community’s collective energy and the thrilling first chords of Thunderstruck.

* The 11-member Board of Directors: These men and women are unsung heroes, not seeking praise or recognition, but make the decisions that result in our event being what it is. They are runners and walkers, which helps make the event so use-friendly for all of our participants.

* 3,000 volunteers: Honestly, they don’t show up, we don’t have a race. But show up they do, some all 40 years! There is not a single aspect of this event that doesn’t involve volunteer support – they deserve a ton of praise and thanks!

* Hundreds of law enforcement and safety personnel from across the region: We don’t know everything that they do when it comes to keeping thousands of people safe and secure at such a large-scale event. I am deeply thankful for the men and women putting it on the line so we can all do this each year.

* The team of folks we work with at Nationwide Children’s Hospital: This partnership, launched in 2012, has gone beyond anything anyone envisioned, and that isn’t just in reference to the millions of dollars raised for the Hospital. The race is now a community event, not just something for a bunch of crazy runners and walkers!

* Residents in communities along the course, and others affected by the closing of streets and all the hoopla we bring forth when the Marathon comes to town: It is a fun event, sure, but also causes traffic tie-ups, noise, and other challenges. We are thankful to have the privilege of holding this event, and appreciative of the patience shown by those who are affected.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the families and the kids from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, along with all the spectators, and even your families and friends who stayed home but support your efforts to run or walk in the race.

People often tell me, “I love your race.” But it is much more than me. It is mine, yours, OURS.

All the best – see you next year!

The 2020 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will be Sunday, October 18. Stay connected throughout the year by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Two Course Records Set, Closest Marathon Finish Highlight 40th Anniversary Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon

Both ½ Marathon course records were broken today, along with a photo-finish in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon.

The 2019 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon featured a field of approximately 15,000 participants and, over the past eight years, has raised nearly $10 million for the hospital.

Following were highlights of the day:

  • $1.3 million and counting was raised for Nationwide Children’s Hospital during the 2019 event – closing in on $10 million raised since the partnership with the hospital started in 2012;
  • Three Americans qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials, including two females in the marathon (beating the 2:45 qualifying time) and the third place male full marathon;
  • A field of approximately 15,000 participated from 45 different states and 18 countries;
  • 24 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Patient Champions and their families were along 24 miles; one mile was the Angel Mile and was dedicated to the angels of Nationwide Children’s who have already run their race; and one mile was the Encore Mile for the nearly 200 Patient Champions from previous races.

“During our 40th anniversary of the Columbus Marathon, I am proud to say we have raised nearly $10 million for Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” said Darris Blackford, Race Director.  “The success of this event and our fundraising efforts is made possible by our community members, athletes, and the friends and families of the incredible Patient Champions that line our course. We are thrilled to support the life-saving work of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”


*Qualified for the US Olympic Trials

Marathon Male

  • Sammy Rotich, Toledo, OH                                2:15:05
  • Elijah Rugut, Toledo, OH                                    2:15:05
  • *Jason Witt, Columbus, OH                               2:18:22                                                   

Marathon Female

  • Fayne Gudato, New York, NY                            2:34:29
  • Viola Bor, Toledo, OH                                        2:35:50
  • *Maria Scavuzzo, Oxford, OH                             2:37:52
  • *Clara Santucci, Lawrence, PA                           2:41:19

½ Marathon Male

  • James Ngandu, Van Wert, OH                            1:02:14
  • Dominic Korir, Columbus, OH                            1:02:17
  • E.K. Kurui, Grand Prairie, TX                               1:03:20

½ Marathon Female

  • Vicoty Chepngeno, Kenya                                  1:10:27
  • Sarah Horbol, Westlake, OH                              1:17:42
  • Sarah Biehl, Hilliard, OH                                    1:18:52

½ Marathon Wheelchair Male

  • Joey Gibbs, Ocala, FL                                         1:01:57

½ Marathon Wheelchair Female

  • Sarah Werner, Columbus, OH                            1:34:06

Marathon – Wheelchair Male

  • Steven Smith, Plover, WI                                   1:49:43
  • Chad Johnson, Corydon, IN                                2:03:54
  • Matt Davis, Bowling Green, KY                           2:05:14




  • 24 Miracle Mile Patient Champions who have shared their stories to inspire
  • 3,000 volunteers making this marathon possible
  • Approximately 15,000 athletes come from 45 states (we are only missing representation from Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Dakota (but we got North Dakota after years of missing out!)
  • Nearly 100 bands and entertainers add extra cheer
  • 25-member marathon team and 11-member marathon board of directors that have put in approximately 10,000 hours of planning
  • Approximately 60,000 people attend the Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19
  • Approximately 100,000 spectators cheer on athletes on Race Day
  • Participants in the ½ Marathon range in age from 12 years of age (we have 9 registered) to 89 years of age; participants in the full range in age from 16 years old to 77 years old.
  • Participants in the full marathon hail from USA, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, Germany, Kenya, Peru, Thailand and the UK. Participants in the ½ marathon hail from the USA, Australia, India and the Netherlands.
  • 116 elite athletes are entered in the full and the ½ marathon – 54 women and 62 men.
  • Nearly 1,000 Children’s Champions raise money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital through the event
  • 42 participants are running the race on their birthday!


  • 100,000-plus White Castle cups of water to quench thirst
  • 100,000-plus cups of Lemon-Lime Gatorade when water just doesn’t cut it
  • 14,000 bananas, 8,000 apples, 22,500 bottles of water, 12,000 peanut butter sandwich cracker 6-packs, 12,000 packets of string cheese, 18,000 Zone Perfect bars, 12,000 Haribo Halloween gummies, 13,000 cartons of Smith’s Chocolate Milk, 12,000 bagels, 12,000 goldfish crackers, 12,000 Frito-Lay chips
  • 500-plus portable bathrooms for relief
  • 20,000-plus Clif Shot energy gels to refuel (chocolate, vanilla, raspberry and citrus flavored!)
  • 96 portable generators to power the course



  • 1 Angel Mile to honor, remember and celebrate the angels of Nationwide Children’s who have already finished their race
  • 1 Encore Mile, for the patients who lined the 2012 – 2018 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon course
  • 20,000 feet of fencing (nearly 4 miles) along various parts of the course
  • 201,600-watt sound system to rev up runners at the Start Line
  • 24 White Castle “Striding Slyders” and New Albany Walking Club pace team members
  • 27 permits throughout five different police jurisdictions to close down 26.2 miles of roads
  • More than 8,000 lbs. of discarded clothes donated to Goodwill Columbus



  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital has more than 1.2 million patient visits annually and stays true to its mission of providing care regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
  • As a result of the partnership between the Columbus Marathon and Nationwide Children’s Hospital launched in 2012, more than $8.5 million has been raised to support the life-saving work of Nationwide Children’s Hospital (we could hit $10 million this year!).




26 Tips for 26.2 Miles: Final Reminders


Tip 26: Final Reminders

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’re 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 and Instagram.


Are you ready?

The 2019 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon races are just hours away. On behalf of our entire team, we want to thank you for taking part in the 40th anniversary race of the Marathon, and our 14th annual ½ Marathon. This event is not only a celebration of health and wellness, but the opportunity to support the life-changing work taking place at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Between our 11 board members, hundreds of marathons and ½ marathons have been completed, including our races many times. Whether this is your first race or 40th, here are some last-minute ideas to make the most of Race Day – straight from our board members.

What You Should Do Saturday Night:

  • Lay it all out – Avoid race day anxiety and rushing around by laying out everything you will need the night before.
  • Have a 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. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about parking and road closures throughout the course.
  • Visualize– Seeing is believing. Visualize the start while everyone cheers you on, a smooth run with a calm breath and a steady pace, and the finish line after you’ve pushed through the pain. You will be elated and learn it was – and always is – worth it. Through visualization our dreams come true.

Race Morning:

  • Get there early! –Avoid any unneeded race day anxiety by getting to the start line early. Learn how long it will take you to get there, then double that time! As a reminder, the Corrals open at 6 a.m.
  • 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 Clif Shot should already be tested.
  • Stay Warm – If it is a cool morning, wear some “throw-away clothing” that you picked up at the Expo from our friends at Goodwill Columbus. Or use an oversized trash bag to stay warm by cutting a hole for your head at the bottom of the bag. Once the race begins, all you have to do is toss it to the side of the road (avoid throwing it on the ground near you so no one trips over it!).

During the Race:

  • Pace – Relax and don’t get too excited before and during the first few miles. Trust your training and stay true to your pace. Need help? Join the Striding Slyders Pace Team, presented by White Castle, to have expert pacers guide you through the race at your pace. The service is free – meet the leaders at the Expo or in the Start Line corrals!
  • Take it all in – Once you arrive, remember to take in the sights, the sounds and the smells of one of Columbus’ biggest (and in our opinion, BEST) annual events. Entertainment and Patient Champions will be at every mile to keep you going. Remember, you’ve worked hard for this – enjoy it!


  • 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 Village is the perfect place to do so. Reunite with friends and family, shake out your legs, visit the vendors, feast on food from local food trucks, enjoy live entertainment and remember to hit that PR Gong!
  • Recover – Check out blog #14 from our Medical Director, Dr. Darrin Bright, which gives a list of tips on how to recover immediately after the race and later in the day.

Tomorrow culminates months of hard work. You are ready. You can do this. We can’t wait to see you in the morning.

If you have any last minute questions, please leave a comment below or reach out to the marathon team on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.



26 Tips for 26.2 Miles: Celebrate After Finishing

Tip 25: Celebrate After Finishing

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’re 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 and Instagram.

Many athletes spend months preparing for the 2019 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon. Finishing the race is a massive accomplishment, and we encourage you to celebrate! We also encourage you to celebrate right away.

Celebrations begin immediately after crossing the finish line. It is where athletes will get their medals and a quick bite to eat. Gear check will be nearby (at West St. and Spring St.); so, picking up items should be simple and quick.

Athletes will be able to meet their families at the Family Reunion area just a few hundred feet from the finish line on Spring St. east of Neil Ave.; wind feathers with last name letters are placed to help families find each other.

North Bank Park will be the host of live music, food trucks and vendors. Hugs, tears and high-fives all around. Athletes can get medals engraved and ring one of TWO PR gongs to celebrate their best time.  Don’t forget to pick up the “I Qualified for Boston” pin (if it is earned!) at the Information Tent next to the Gear Check tent at the corner of West Street and Spring Street.

Most importantly, there will be ample space to stand, sit and reflect on the achievement of running a full or 1/2 marathon. You’ve worked hard and sacrificed countless hours to make Sunday happen. Take time to celebrate with friends, family and the Columbus running community at Celebration Village. Here’s a quick video highlighting part of the party that comes with the end of this personal milestone.


Current registrants can click here to double-check your registration.  Please ask any questions in the comment section below. You’re also welcome to connect with the marathon team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.





2019 Lashutka Spirit Award Winners

2019 Lashutka Spirit Award Winners (9-10)

Every year, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon accepts nominations of race participants who have overcome major obstacles while training for the race to receive the Lashutka Spirit Award. The board of trustees of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon then names 10 people from hundreds of participants to receive the award.

For the 40thanniversary race, 10 Lashutka Spirit Awards were given to a range of incredibly resilient runners whose stories we have been thrilled to share with you. Despite difficulties including injury, addiction or disease, these athletes have pushed through to train to compete in this year’s full or half marathon.

It is our pleasure to share with you the final two winners of this accolade (in no particular order).

Their stories will inspire.

Rose Smith, Bellefontaine, OH – In October 2017, Rose felt called to explore donating her kidney, and she was particularly called to donate to a child. She went through the long medical process to make sure she could donate and was eventually matched with a 4-year-old boy named Levi who had end-stage Renal Disease. In January 2019, without hesitation, Rose went through the surgery and gave her kidney to Levi, truly saving his life. Levi will be a Patient Champion during the 2019 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon.


Rose Smith and Levi

Dave Parsons, Mount Vernon, OH – In February 2018, Dave was involved in a car accident while driving to New Albany for his morning run when a distracted driver hit him head on, trapping him in his car.  The accident resulted in a broken left foot which required surgery with a plate and screws to repair.  He began running again the following August. It has been a slow process to try to return to his form prior to the accident (when he ran a 3:18 at Warm Up Columbus just two weeks prior to the accident), but he continues to improve and  is currently training to run the full marathon at this year’s 40th anniversary event.

Emerald City


26 Tips for 26.2 Miles: Proper Packet Pickup

Tip 24: Proper Packet Pickup

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’re 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 and Instagram.

 To ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable race experience, the 2019 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon created specific rules for packet pickup.

Pickup Overview:

Unless you signed up for Reserved Packet Pickup for an additional fee (see details here), we do not offer packet pickup on race day. All race packets must be picked up during Expo hours. If you cannot pick up your race packet, you can have someone pick it up for you, but that person must have a copy of your ID (a photo on their phone is OK), as well as their own photo ID.

Pick up your 2019 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon participant bib, t-shirt, bib tag timing device and clear, gear check bag at the Health & Fitness Expo in the Battelle Grand Ballroom at the south end of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Expo hours are Friday, Oct. 18, from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Make sure you have your photo ID.  There are no exceptions if you do not have your ID.

 (Note: Athletes will receive the race t-shirt corresponding to the event in which they are entered, i.e., someone registered for the full marathon will receive a full marathon t-shirt, even if they signed up for the full marathon but only intend to complete the ½ Marathon. Again, there are no exceptions.)

What If Friends or Family Want to Pick Up Your Number for Me?

As noted above, make sure they have a copy of your photo ID, as well as their own picture ID. They should first check in at the booth located just outside of the expo hall, “Picking Up For Others? Start Here,” for an approval stamp.

To help them get through the “Picking Up For Others? Start Here” line faster, click here, print this form, fill it out ahead of time and give to the person picking up your number. They must still visit the “Picking Up For Others? Start Here” table. 

Can Registration Packets Be Mailed in Advance?


NEW THIS YEAR! Be on the Big Screen!
To add to the 40th anniversary Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon festivities, we’ll have a big screen at the 16th mile mark featuring personalized messages from family and friends that will cheer on runners and walkers. We’ll have a “recording booth” at the Expo for spectators to cheer on their favorite athletes. The clips will only be 5-10 seconds, but will mean the world to your athlete. If you can’t make it to the Expo, you can upload your own video here.



Current registrants can click here to double-check your registration.  Please ask any questions in the comment section below. You’re also welcome to connect with the marathon team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.





26 Tips for 26.2 Miles: Road Closings

Tip 23: Road Closings in Columbus on Race Day

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’re 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 and Instagram.

Getting around the 2019 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon Course should be top of mind for an athlete. With the race just three days away, here are some reminders to help you, your friends and your family get around Columbus on Sunday.

Street closures at the combined Start/Finish line:

  • Starting on Thursday, Oct. 17, various roads in the North Bank Park area will be closed to road traffic.


  • Long St. between High St. to the East and Hocking St. to the West will close at 9:30 a.m. On Friday, Oct. 18.


  • Spring St. will be closed from West St. to the East, and Hocking St. to the West at 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18. (It will reopen Saturday, October 19 from 4-11 p.m. for traffic leaving the Columbus Blue Jackets game scheduled that evening.).


  • Neil Ave. will be closed from Nationwide Blvd. to the combined Start/Finish line at Long St. at 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18 (NOTE: Nationwide will still be open to get to various parking garages).


On Race Day, 26.2 miles of the marathon course will be subject to rolling street closures, based upon the expected time the first and last athlete passes each mile of the course.  Spring Street, Long Street and Neil Avenue will open back up to traffic at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20th.


Click here to view course maps.

Click here to view pace chart.

If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments, or ask us on Facebookand Twitter!


26 Tips for 26.2 Miles: Emergency Action Plan

Tip 22: Emergency Action Plan

As we put the final preparations in place for this year’s race, we’re 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 and Instagram.

This Emergency Action Plan, in place should we experience inclement weather, is one we hope to never have to use. Say it with me:

It’s not going to rain.

It’s not going to rain.

It’s not going to rain.

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon has been lucky enough to avoid major weather. However, we do live in Ohio where weather can be unpredictable at times.

The most important thing our team can do is keep athletes, volunteers and spectators as safe as possible during the race. Dangerous weather conditions pose a challenge to that mission. As a result, the following is our Emergency Action Plan:

Safety is #1

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon puts the safety of its participants, spectators, staff and volunteers first.

Alert Levels

The flag system at each aid station will advise you of course conditions ahead. We suggest you become familiar with it:

  • Green = Good conditions
  • Yellow = Moderate conditions
  • Red = Potentially dangerous conditions
  • Black = Extreme conditions and event cancellation

Know the Possible Responses

One of five possible options in response to unsafe conditions on the course will be determined by race officials in consultation with law enforcement, fire/EMS and other officials. The decision will then be communicated promptly with athletes, spectators and volunteers:

  • Delay the event before the start
  • Pause the event and resume when conditions are safe
  • Pause the event and cancel if conditions do not improve within a reasonable amount of time
  • Modify the course to shorten the event or avoid unsafe conditions
  • Cancel the event prior to the start

Seek Shelter

 In the event of dangerous weather, adverse conditions or race cancellation, please seek shelter immediately. All police and fire personnel, as well as water stop and course officials can direct you to the nearest shelter and emergency transportation pick-up zones.

Stay Informed

New to the 40th anniversary race, we are working with local law enforcement to provide special messaging in case of any weather or safety concerns. Simply text the word “race alert” to 888-777 (remember, triple eight, triple seven; capitalization doesn’t matter). You will receive a welcome message and be all set to receive notices as they are issued.

As in past years, you can also sign up for the RT/RT.me Mobile App and enable alerts to be directly notified of changes in course conditions and emergency actions.

How we Determine What Actions to Take

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 & ½ Marathon website, as well as through other means of communication such as e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Real-Time Race-Tracking and public address announcements.

As stated above, 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. (*See “Know the Possible Responses”). Visible lightning will cause the race to be postponed for a minimum of 30 minutes.

If extremely high heat and humidity is predicted, extra water will be provided to the athletes 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 or cancel 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.

If possible, athletes should check the marathon websiteFacebook, Twitter, Instagram and RTRT for weather updates prior to or during the race, as well as take note of the color-coded race conditions signage at each mile marker.

One final thought: runners often throw away expensive rain gear during the race when they realize it’s not needed. Here’s a quick video that could save you some money or time at gear check on race day.



Have additional questions? Let us know in the comments below, or share with us on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ll be sure to get them answered!