Tip #16: Plan Ahead for Parking and Traffic

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 FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Tip 16 - ParkingBetween runners, walkers, volunteers, spectators, sponsors and supporters, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will attract tens of thousands of people throughout the course, as well as at the Start and Finish Lines. This means A LOT of cars will be making their way downtown Sunday morning. 

If you’ll have more important things than fighting traffic on your mind (you know, like running or walking a marathon or 1/2 marathon) on race day, today’s tip is for you: Plan ahead for parking and traffic.

First and foremost, please be sure to get downtown early (the earlier, the better)! Think about how long it usually takes to get into downtown Columbus from your home or wherever you’re staying, and then double that number. With all those people making their way to the Start Line at the same time, you’ll need to account for extra travel time to get where you want to be. If you’re an athlete, we suggest that you’re downtown and parked by 6 a.m. so you have plenty of time to get to the Start Line and find your corral. (Reminder: This year, you’ll have an hour –  from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. – to line up in your corral.) A few additional tips:

  • Consider carpooling, as it will cut down on traffic and parking problems for everyone.
  • Make sure you know about any road closings/construction that may get in the way of you being in your corral by 7 a.m. We’ll share a list of street closures in the next few days, or you can check out Paving the Way’s website for the latest road construction information, including weekend work.

Here are our recommendations for parking:


We strongly encourage athletes to seek out a parking spot close to the Finish Line. Believe us when we say it will be much easier to walk a few blocks BEFORE you run 13.1 or 26.2 instead of having to walk back after. You can purchase parking tickets in advance for any of the Arena District parking lots and garages (just minutes away from the Finish Line) by clicking here.


There are plenty of options for spectators looking to park close to the Start Line. You can find easy in-and-out garage access at Columbus Commons or the Statehouse Parking Garage. There are additional parking lots and garages on the corner of Third and Gay streets, as well as Long and Third streets. Plus, all parking meters in Columbus are free on Sundays.

Visit our website for a full list of parking options available. If you have any questions on parking or race morning traffic, let us know in the comments or ask on Facebook or Twitter.


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