Ask the Race Director Recap

Can you believe the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon is only six days away?! To prepare you for the big day, last Thursday we hosted our annual “Ask the Race Director” chat, where Race Director Darris Blackford answered runners’ and walkers’ questions during an hour-long live video broadcast.

In case you missed it, take a look at the video below for a recap. However, please note that due to technical difficulty, we were only able to record the first 30 minutes of this year’s chat so we’ve included an overview of all topics discussed at the bottom of this post.

Here are a few highlights:

CHILDREN’S CHAMPIONS
We have a record number of runners and walkers participating as Children’s Champions this year, and there’s still time to join! Click here for more information or to sign up.

PACKET PICKUP
Race day packets can ONLY be picked up at the Health & Fitness Expo. If you are picking up a packet for someone else, you must have both your photo ID and theirs. No ID, no number, no exceptions. You can find more information on the Expo and packet pickup here.

BAGGAGE & GEAR CHECK
No solid-colored bags, boxes, luggage, etc., of any kind, including grocery bags or cinch-style “goodie bag” backpacks, will be permitted in the Athlete-Only areas of the Start Line, Finish Line or in the starting corrals. For Gear Check, we will only accept the clear Gear Check bags you receive at the Expo. All items you wish to check must be in these bags, and the numbered sticker you receive in your race packet must be on this clear bag. Please review this year’s baggage and gear check rules carefully, as they will be strictly enforced at this year’s Start Line area.

CORRALS
Corrals open at 6 a.m. and they’re open for an hour, so all runners need to be in corrals no later than 7 a.m. There will be a total of four corrals, with 4,500 runners in each. Participants will find out what corral they’re in when they pick up their race day packet at the Expo. You can find more information about corrals (and pace teams) here.

PARKING
The best place to park is at the Finish Line. There are thousands of spots available, plus you’ll only have to walk about 100 yards back to your car after the race. For a full list of parking options and tips to avoid race morning traffic, click here.

SECURITY
The biggest change this year is that there are seven “Athlete Only” gates surrounding the Start Line area, where only athletes with numbers will be allowed. Spectators will all be directed to the main starting area (Third and Broad streets). Also, backpacks and other large items are not permitted in the bleachers or the Finish Line. Your safety is our number one priority; Please be sure to review all of this year’s increased safety measures before Sunday.

START LINE
Every time a corral takes off (There are four total: A, B, C and D), we’ll have fireworks and music to signal it. We’ll start with the National Anthem at 7:25 a.m. Wheelchairs will take off at 7:27 a.m., followed by Wave 1 (Corral A) at 7:30 a.m. Wave 2 (Corral B) will be walked up around five minutes later, followed by Waves 3 and 4 (Corrals C and D). We expect to have every person across the Start Line by 8 a.m. You can find more information about the Start Line here.

REAL-TIME RACE TRACKING
Again this year, a timing chip will be placed on the back of all race bibs. That chip will pick up sensors at the Start and Finish Lines, as well as several locations along the course, and provide your real-time race tracking and results. When you cross the Start Line, your clock will start. From there, you’ll be tracked until you finish. Click here for more information about how to sign up for real-time race tracking.

PACE TEAMS
Pace teams are a simple game of “Follow the Leader.” One runner or walker will lead each team, and they’ll carry a sign (and balloons!) with their pace time written on it. This is a free service. You can get more information at the Expo, or by clicking here.

COURSE
The 2013 full marathon will run through Bexley, Olde Town East, German Village, downtown Columbus, Short North, The Ohio State University campus (including the ‘Shoe!), Upper Arlington, Grandview, Victorian Village and will finish in the Arena District. The 1/2 marathon will follow the same course, ending in downtown Columbus.

Click here to review the course maps and highlights videos.

HYDRATION & FLUID STATIONS
There are 21 fluid stations along the course, as well as two gel stations serving ClifShot energy gels. Finally, we’ll have a new food zone presented by Kroger at Mile 23, featuring orange slices, pretzels, cookies and candy. For more information on fueling up along the course, click here. Water bottle holders and belts, “Camelbacks” and fanny packs will be permitted, but plan for these to be inspected at the gates.

SPECTATORS
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.) Click here for a breakdown of popular spectator locations along the course, as well as a few additional spectator tips.

FINISH LINE
When you cross the Finish Line, you’ll be handed a medal and Mylar blanket (space blanket). Then, you can walk over to Celebration Village to meet up with family/friends and celebrate your accomplishments with fellow runners and walkers.

Have any additional questions about this year’s race? Let us know in the comments, or ask on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll be sure to get them answered this week!

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