Tip #18: The Spectators’ Guide to the 2013 Columbus Marathon

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 18 - SpectatorsRunning 13.1 or 26.2 miles is no easy task. Sure, powering up with fluids and gels is helpful, but when you really need a boost, we’ve learned that thousands of enthusiastic spectators cheering you on are what really do the trick. That’s why today’s tip is for the fans: Know the best spots in town to cheer on athletes and watch the race.

Knowing that spectators would want to be able to get around quickly and easily spot their friends and family, we designed the course in a “cloverleaf.” That means you’ll be able to get to five prime locations for watching the race all within a few blocks walking distance from one another. There will be police and course marshals at various intersections to assist you in getting around. Please keep in mind: Police and course marshals are the only ones who have the authority to wave spectators across the race path if there is a break in the action. You cannot cross the course without permission from these authorities.

Here’s a breakdown of popular spectator locations along the course:

  • Drexel and Main Streets in Bexley is a perfect place to take in the fall colors and amazing homes as the runners pass by.
  • Town and Third Streets is a great spot to greet runners as they turn the corner to head south to German Village. Note: This is only two to three blocks from the Start Line and a spectator favorite as thousands of people will be there to cheer on their runners or walkers.
  • Schiller Park in German Village is one of Columbus’ oldest and most scenic parks. Here you can walk from one side of the park to the other to cheer on your athlete, plus take part in the German Village Neighborhood Party (free Starbucks, anyone?).
  • North High Street (approximately mile 12) is another easy place for spectators to wait for their athletes coming out of their run in German Village. Then they can easily walk to the finish line and greet their 1/2 marathoners OR they can jump on a shuttle at the Finish Line that will take them to Ohio Stadium to catch their full marathoner running through The ‘Shoe. 
  • Short North Arts District on High Street (between Nationwide Blvd. and Fifth Ave.) is a great place to grab a cup of joe from a local coffee shop and window shop at several art galleries and boutique shops while you wait for your athlete.
  • High Street Campus Area is where full marathoners will turn onto the beautiful Lane Ave. bridge on their way to The ‘Shoe. This area has easy access to the highway, making it easy to get to the Finish Line. (Bonus tip: See below for more information on how you can hop on our “Shuttles to The ‘Shoe” to get back-and-forth between this area and the Finish Line.)
  • Grandview Ave. is when the athletes are really starting to experience the strain of a marathon and need maximum encouragement. This beautiful area has great boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops with plentiful seating for spectators, plus there are several side streets where you can easily park and get to the action.
  • 5th and Neil Avenues is at approximately the 24.5-mile-mark. Here you can enjoy the sights of the beautiful homes of Victorian Village while you cheer your athlete toward the Finish Line.
  • Goodale Park in the Short North (bordered by Buttles and Park Streets) is the 25-mile mark and a great place to cheer athletes through their last mile.
  • Nationwide Blvd. by Nationwide Arena is where thousands of spectators line the streets to cheer runners and walkers to the Finish Line. Once the race is over, you’ll be able to catch up with marathoners at Celebration Village.

“Shuttles to the Shoe” will also be available for spectators again this year. If you bleed scarlet and gray like we do, the stands and field at Ohio Stadium should definitely be on your list of areas to cheer on your friends and family running the full marathon. “Shuttles to The ‘Shoe” will loop back-and-forth from Ohio Stadium to the Finish Line between 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. This way, you can watch your runners as they pass through The ‘Shoe, then get downtown with plenty of time to spare before they cross the Finish Line (Ohio Stadium is at Mile 17.5, so runners have nine miles to go when they run through it).

Click here for some additional tips from spectators and runners for where to watch this year’s race. Already planned your route? let us know what spots are on your list on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

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