Sister Cities Exchange Applications Due May 15

Each year we hold athlete exchanges with some of Columbus’ international sister cities that also have a marathon or half marathon. The longest such exchange has been with Dresden, Germany – this is our fifth-year anniversary!

This year the Dresden Marathon and Half Marathon races are one week after ours, and five athletes will travel between each city to take part in the events. As part of the exchange, the athletes will stay with host families in each city.

Are you an athlete who would like to apply to be a Columbus Marathon Ambassador at the Dresden Marathon and Half Marathon? Visit or watch this video

to learn more about the exchange and apply online here by May 15. Want to host an athlete from Dresden? Send a note to

Last year we expanded our athlete exchange program to Hefei, China, and Curitiba, Brazil, and will continue these partnerships in 2016.

Three athletes will get the chance to represent Columbus at the Hefei International Marathon on November 12, and another trio will take part in the Maratona Curitiba on November 20. As with the Dresden partnership, efforts are under way to have athletes from these cities take part in our race on October 16.

For information on becoming an ambassador for Columbus in China or Brazil, fill out the application found online here by May 15. Want to host an athlete from Hefei or Curitiba? Send a note to

Good luck!

Group before Start

Boston Marathon Guess-A-Thon

Each year, close to 20 percent of the participants in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon qualify for the Boston Marathon. However, you don’t need to be a 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 gas card!

From April 10 to April 17, we will accept one guess per person on our Facebook page for each of the following from the April 18th Boston Marathon finishing times:

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

Post your best guess of the times for the fastest finishers on our Facebook wall and make sure to get specific – it could all come down to the second!

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.

Want to play? Like our Facebook page! Ready, set, guess!


As many of you know, we hold an annual food drive in January for Mid-Ohio Food Bank at running stores throughout Central Ohio (and those who live far away had the opportunity to donate online). After running all over Central Ohio to pick up all the canned goods and raffle entries, we randomly drew the names of 20 lucky folks who will receive a complimentary entry to either the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon or 1/2 Marathon on Oct. 16.

And now — for the announcement of the 20 lucky winners…drumroll please!
Rich James
Randy Treep
Jen Paulus
Wayne Chapman
Mark Wesney
Kari Brown Budde
Sarah Seither
Kelly Helton
John McMullin
Katy Daker
Kelly Meacham
Ben Bruno
Clint Stephens
Lauren Fisk
Nathan Lutz
Chris Taylor
Sherry Smith
Burgundie Miceli
Alex Headings
Lisa Halley

We will be reaching out to each of the winners within the next two weeks to make arrangements for their free entry. Please email if you have any questions.

Many thanks to all of you who donated — because of your generosity, we were able to raise hundreds of dollars for Mid-Ohio Foodbank and donate much-needed canned goods to families in need throughout Central Ohio.


Darris Blackford, Race Director

2016 Race Director’s Challenge

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.02.32 PMThe New Year is upon us! Whether it’s a part of your New Year’s resolution or an annual tradition, if you’re looking to run the 2016 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon or 1/2 Marathon, we have a great opportunity for you! The NCHCM Race Director Challenge gives you a chance to win one of 20 free entries for our race – while doing good for our Columbus community!

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 (3 locations), or Second Sole (2 locations). When you do, fill out an entry card for a chance to win one of 20 free entries into our 2016 Marathon or ½ Marathon. Only one entry per person will be accepted.

So, what is the “Challenge” part? We want to collect 2,016 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!

Thankful for our Sister City

“On your mark, get set, go!” | “Auf die Plätze, fertig, los!”

For the past four years, sister-cities Columbus and Dresden Germany have formed a special relationship, sending five of their own city’s athletes to compete in the other’s Marathon and ½ Marathon. The experience has proven to be much more than a race across the pond. Participants have been able to take in a new culture, share their own and make international friendships that last long beyond the 5 night stay.

Hear what a few of our Columbus athlete and cultural ambassadors had to say about their time in Dresden.

Group before Start.JPG

Sue Frost

Dresden was stunningly different and also similar to what makes Columbus special – friendly people and pride in our home regions of central Ohio and Saxony. My hosts Katrin, a fellow half marathoner, and Jesto were the highlight of the trip. They enjoyed hosting Daniel Conner in 2014 and wanted to share their hospitality again. They met me at the train station.  Through the exchange, they are fans of buckeye candy and understand why O H is greeted with I O. With them, I saw the local region including historic towns like Meissen, regional wineries, baroque palaces, and the Saxon Alps. Their warmth and kindness were limitless. 


Joe Giessler

Staying with a local family in Dresden truly made the trip so much more memorable. Plus, I can honestly say I had one of the BEST meals of my life, goulash! I would go back just for that.

Maybe it’s just because I was on cloud nine from traveling abroad, but this was one of my favorite races. Unlike many marathons in the United States that start by 8 a.m., the Dresden Marathon did not start until 10:30 a.m. local time, which turned out to be perfect as the weather was a little chilly leading up to the race. The race begins through the historic downtown area with palaces and beautiful architecture towering over the course. You then head over a bridge and into an area known as “New Dresden.” Before heading back to the other side of the river, you go through a 1 kilometer tunnel that becomes cheering echoing contest that energizes all the athletes passing through.


Grace Stanislav

From the time my husband and I arrived in Dresden, we were shown such hospitality by the sister city coordinator, city officials and of course our host family. The city with its rich history, culture and art was impressive. The sight and story of the reconstructed Baroque Frauenkirche was quite moving. The thrill of running the international marathon along cobblestone streets and tree lined river paths was unforgettable.

The best part of the experience was the friendship we made with our Dresden hosts Claudia and Thomas. Thank you Dresden Sister City Inc. and the Columbus Marathon.  It was an honor to represent Columbus in this sister city exchange. It is our hope to return the warmth and hospitality shown to us to future Dresden visitors to Columbus.


Rodney Arcaro

The best part, though, and least expected were the 5 days I spent with my host family, Christine and Herbert.  Going into this I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew my host was a runner so I figured that would at least provide an opportunity for some conversation.  However, I didn’t know that it would be possible to find a connection with complete strangers like I did.

We spent hours talking about their lives, my life, what is going on in Germany, what is happening in the States.  We walked and biked all over Dresden and surrounding areas, biking to places like Pillnitz and Meissen and of course sampling a few biers along the way.  We made several meals at their home and we laughed about many things. I was able to meet several of their friends as well.  My hosts were so kind to take time out of their daily routines to make me feel a part of their lives.

Interested in learning more about being a Columbus Ambassador or host? Send a note to Dorit Fratzscher at  



Tip #26: Reflect on your amazing experience!

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 , Pinterest and Instagram .

It doesn’t matter where or when you cross the finish line– you all are going the distance.  So, when you’re sitting in your bath of Epsom Salt and squeezing every last ounce of Biofreeze onto your weary muscles post-race, take in some of the marathon and 1/2 marathon-inspired quotes below.

Tip 26 - inspiration

“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

“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination.” John “The Penguin” Bingham

“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

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons

“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.” Lynn Jennings, Olympic Bronze 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

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” Haruki Murakami, author

Also remember that by participating in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon or 1/2 Marathon, you made a difference in the lives of children who get care from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, regardless of their ability to pay. We are honored and humbled that you chose to participate in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon. We look forward to seeing you next year on Sunday, October 16, 2016!

Tip #25: Before, during and after 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 Pinterest  and  Instagram.

The Board of Directors for the 2015 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon is active on several fronts. In addition to providing guidance and support for the race, our 11 board members have completed more than 300 marathons between them. So as you get ready for the race, here are their ideas on how you can make the most of tomorrow.

Tip 25 - what to do

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. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about parking and road closures throughout the course.

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. The Corrals open at 6 a.m. 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 Clif Shot should already be tested.  

Protein – A little bit of protein is always a good thing the morning of the race, but again, practice this first before that day!

Stay Warm – Even with 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 Village 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.

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

Tip #24: Choosing the Right Apparel with Kelsey from Second Sole

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, Pinterest and Instagram.

Guest post by Kelsey Rosenburg, Second Sole Short North’s fashion guru

Well you’ve made it this far. The hard part is done; the miles are run and now its time to show us what you have been working so hard for.  The last thing you want is a minor apparel choice to ruin your race day.

Tip 24 - what to wear

The most important thing to remember is layering. With the often-unpredictable weather and the change in temperatures during the morning, wearing more than one layer is important. Make sure your layers are easily removable and disposable.

Lets start with the top layer. The morning is often brisk, however once you start moving and your adrenaline gets pumping you will heat up fast. For this top layer we recommend heading to the Goodwill Columbus booth at the expo. Grab a big comfy sweatshirt, or sweatpants to layer over your other gear. This is something you can easily throw off guilt free. This will keep you warm and you will be supporting a great non-profit.

Don’t forget to make the removal as easy as possible, cut a slit in the neck or around the leg holes help to make sure you don’t fumble while getting anything off in a hurry.

The next layer should be your race outfit. Always make sure to wear a wicking material for your shirt and shorts. Ladies we love a tank and arm sleeve combo, again allowing for easy removal of another layer. Half tights are also a great choice for your race day outfit; as opposed to shorts they are a little better for chaffing.  Guys a moisture wicking t-shirt or tank is also a great choice. Above all else make sure you have done a test run in your outfit before race day. This will ensure a great outcome for all your hard work.

Next, let’s move on to the most important part, footwear. We hope by now everyone has the shoes you will use for the race. No new shoes on race day! While it may be the same shoe you have run in for years, don’t play the odds and run in a new pair of shoes. Combine your favorite shoes with a great pair of non-cotton socks. This will decrease moisture buildup and keep you comfortable from start to finish.

Now that you’ve got your layers figured out and shoes ready, make sure that you have all of the nutritional products that you will need! Again making sure to do a test run of your nutrition for race morning can help alleviate stomach pains during the race.

Finally, if you get to the starting line and realize that you forgot something, do not panic! Come visit us at the Second Sole Race Day store next to the starting line. We will have with last-minute gloves, energy gels, body glide, hats, socks and anything else essential that you may have forgotten.

This is your race day that you have spent many long months, hours and miles preparing for — go out and enjoy it! We here at Second Sole want to wish each and every one of you the best of luck and want you to know that we will be there for your last minute needs, motivation and support!

Tip 23: Road Closings and Construction Updates

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, Pinterest and Instagram.

Running or walking 13.1 or 26.2 miles is tough. That’s why the Nationwide Children’s -Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon team wants to help you overcome barriers, both on and off the course.

Tip 23 - road closures
Today’s tip involves road closings and construction updates. Columbus is a growing city, and with that growth comes some orange barrels. We also want to ensure the safety of our athletes, spectators and volunteers. Here are street closures near the Start/Finish line area for this year’s race.

  • Long St. will be closed between High St. to the East and Hocking St. to the West at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16.
  • Spring St. will be closed from West St. to the East, and Hocking St. to the West at 7:00 pm. Friday, Oct. 16.
  • Neil Ave. will be closed Race Weekend from Nationwide Blvd. on the North to the combined Start/Finish Line to the South.

On Sunday Oct. 18, 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 and a 2 p.m. course limit.  Spring Street, Long Street and Neil Ave. will open back up to traffic at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 18.

To help you get around, here are three links to study.

If you have any questions, please use the comments section below. You’re also welcome to connect with the marathon team on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Tip 22: Experience The Expo

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, Pinterest and Instagram.

One of the final steps to prepare for race day is your visit to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Expo. Today’s tip has all you need to know make the most of your expo experience.

Tip 22 - expo

The 2015 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon Health & Fitness Expo will take place on Friday, Oct. 16 from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Battelle Grand Ballroom at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43215.

The Expo will feature more than 100 health- and fitness-related booths, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon merchandise and race packet pickup.

NOTE: There will be NO Race Day packet pickup; 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, as well as their own picture ID.


This link has the most up to date map of convention center parking.  Expo parking will be available for a $5 flat rate at the garages listed below:

  • East Surface Lot (#1) – located west of 4th St. on Nationwide Blvd.
  • South Garage (#2) – located on Nationwide Blvd. east of the Hyatt Regency
  • West Garage (#3) – located at the corner of Front St. and Vine St.

Due to construction, the North Garage (#4) will not be available.


From I-70 from the East (Wheeling)

Take I-70 West to the Mound St. Exit

Travel to Fourth St., and then turn Right onto Fourth Street to Nationwide Boulevard

Turn Left onto Nationwide Boulevard


From I-71 from the North (Cleveland)

Take I-71 South

Travel West on I-670 “109-A”

Take Exit “4-B” to the Greater Columbus Convention Center


Take I-71 South to the Spring Street Exit

Travel West on Spring Street to Fourth Street

Head North on Fourth Street to Nationwide Boulevard

Turn Left onto Nationwide Boulevard


From I-71 from the South (Cincinnati)

Take I-71 North to I-70 East

Travel on I-70 East to the Fourth Street Exit

Head North on Fourth Street to Nationwide Boulevard

Turn Left onto Nationwide Boulevard


From I-70 from the West (Indianapolis)

Take I-70 East to the Fourth Street Exit

Head North on Fourth Street to Nationwide Boulevard

Turn Left onto Nationwide Boulevard


If you have any last minute questions, please leave a comment below. You’re also welcome to connect with the race team on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.