Boston Marathon Guess-A-Thon Winners!

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


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

Represent Columbus in the Dresden (Germany) Marathon!

Fourth Annual Columbus – Dresden Marathon Exchange 

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

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

Here’s what athlete ambassadors receive:


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

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

·      Transportation in Dresden on race weekend;

·      Reception hosted by Dresden city officials;

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

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

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

·      Airfare

·      Interest in foreign cultures

·      A winning attitude!

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

2015 Boston Marathon Guess-a-thon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready, set, guess!

2015 Race Director’s Challenge Results

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how it works:

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

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

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

You’re invited to our Virtual Flash Mob!

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

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

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

Are you in?

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

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 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!