On October 19, there will be 18,000 people with 18,000 stories to share about why they are running or walking the course’s 13.1/26.2 miles. Some will be achieving a life-long fitness goal, some will be retaining tradition by running the Columbus Marathon for the 35th time and thousands of others will celebrate the triumph of mind, body and spirit that has come through training for this year’s race.
Since 2007, the Columbus Marathon and ½ Marathon has recognized individuals who have overcome major obstacles while training. The Spirit Award is given to those whose strength; dedication and perseverance motivate us, inspire us and oftentimes, moves us to joyful tears.
Though there are 18,000 stories to share, we will share those of this year’s Spirit Award winners in our blog through the weeks leading up to the race. If you see them at the race, give them a high five!
Guy Margiotta, Hilliard, OH
This Sunday, Guy will walk the ½ Marathon in honor of his daughter, Sophia Rose. Sophia Rose was 12 years old when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and died three days after the diagnosis. Guy and his wife, Missi, became involved in the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Team-in-Training program and have made it their crusade to raise money for blood cancer research. Guy’s optimism and spirit to find a cure for blood cancer has inspired the group, Sophia’s Stars, a group of 13 members who will participate in this year’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon to honor Sophia and raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma.
Bill Reed, Louisville, Kentucky
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will bring Bill one stride closer to his goal. This Sunday, Bill will be running his 48th marathon, making him just two races away from his goal of 50. Bill has been running in marathons for more than 30 years, including qualifying for the Boston Marathon 15 times and participating five times. However his course over the past 30 years has not been smooth. After dealing with back surgery, Bill also was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 2011. While this made reaching his goal more difficult, he refused to let it keep him from his love of running. Bill plans to complete his 50th race in his hometown of Louisville.
Jenness Sigman, Bellbrook, Ohio
For 20-time marathon participant Jenness, running has always been a part of her life, however, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon has taken on a new meaning for her. Jenness was forced to put running on hold after her son, Payne, was in a horrible car accident. Payne suffered major brain trauma and required extensive rehabilitation at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, during which, Jenness stayed at the Ronald McDonald House to attend Payne’s daily therapy sessions. Jenness and her family have focused on giving back by donating the “Play for Payne” funds their community raised for them to a local fire department and through numerous contributions to the Nationwide Rehab unit. They will continue to support Nationwide Children’s this Sunday when Jenness and others will be running with Payne’s name on their backs in honor of Payne and the care he received.