Introducing our Sister City Ambassadors!

Buoyed by the success of our athlete exchange with the marathon in Dresden, Germany, Greater Columbus Sister Cities International is launching similar programs this year with two more cities – Hefei, China, and Curitiba, Brazil.

Congratulations to the athletes who will represent Columbus at the Hefei International Marathon on October 25,  the Maratona Curitiba on November 15 and the Dresden Marathon on our shared race day, October 18. Meet them all below!

NCHCM Sister Cities.


Rodney Arcaro

Rodney, 43, is a small business owner and graduate of Capital University. He and his wife Liz, who is an elementary music teacher, enjoy running races of various distances – from 5Ks to 50K trail runs. Liz will accompany Rodney to Dresden and will also do the Dresden Marathon. Rodney completed the Berlin Marathon in 2013, and he and Liz also briefly visited Dresden that year.

Sue Frost

Sue, 44, is an Assistant Vice President at The Ohio State University and has lived in Columbus and worked at OSU for 15 years. She has completed many races, including 22 marathons, and a 50K ultra marathon. She enjoys volunteering with Girls on the Run, and believes running and volunteering have strengthened her dedication to Columbus. Sue is looking forward to putting her German language capabilities to use in Dresden.

Joe Giessler

Joe, 29, is an online marketer for TourismOhio and loves to tell the exciting story of Columbus and market it to people. He ran cross country in high school and picked running up again in 2012, and ran his first full marathon at Columbus. Joe is named after his grandfather Joseph Giessler, a German who became a U.S. citizen, and Joe has that citizenship paperwork framed on his living room wall.

Grace Stanislav

Grace, 51, is a pharmacist at Mount Carmel and the mother of three boys. She started actively running nine years ago, and has since completed nine full marathons, including Boston. Her grandmother’s parents came to the U.S. from Dresden, Germany, in the late 1800s, and Grace is excited to visit their home town and Columbus’ sister city.

Mark Steidler

Mark, 28, is a recent graduate of the Fisher College of Business and now works as an Assistant Brand Manager at The Wendy’s Company. He has been running marathons for seven years, and has completed 12 different ones, including the Marine Corps Marathon, the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon and the Columbus Marathon. Mark recently traveled to Curitiba, Brazil, another sister city of Columbus, and experienced first-hand the importance of cross-city relationships that yield cultural and economic benefits.


Bill Burns

Bill, 58, is a business development director for an international law firm who has lived in Columbus for 35 years. He is a veteran of 92 marathons, including the Boston Marathon, which he has completed 15 consecutive times. A race he knows even better is the Columbus Marathon– not only has he completed the race 21 times, including every year since 1999 – but he is Chairman of the Board of the Columbus Marathon. Bill, who participated in a Sister Cities trip to Hefei, China in 2003, is interested in Curitiba not only for the marathon, but also because of his role in his law firm’s Latin American development plans.

Elizabeth McClurg

Elizabeth, 29, is administrative assistant to the Dean of the International Institute for Innovative Instruction at Franklin University. She started running in 2007 and has run in half marathons, marathons, and a Half Ironman 70.3, although her favorite event is the Columbus Marathon. She also competed in the 2015 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island on July 4th. Elizabeth also has served as a shopping host for a visiting Dresden athlete in the Columbus Marathon and is excited to have the chance to represent Columbus in Curitiba and learn about our Brazilian sister city’s culture.

Melanie Paris

Melanie, 44, is a program manager at a locally-own corporate wellness company. She began running in 2009 and ran in her first marathon in 2011. She was the first executive director of Columbus Sister Cities from 2000 to 2005, and also participated on the trip to Hefei in 2003. She has participated in Peace Corps missions to Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea and has studied abroad in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Nigeria. She is excited to visit Curitiba because Brazil was the focus of her Master’s Degree thesis in African Studies, surrounding the repatriation movements of former Brazilian slaves back to Nigeria.


Agnes Igodan

Agnes, 29, works in financial services and has lived in the Columbus area since 2001. A sprinter in high school, she now runs 5Ks, 10Ks, and marathons. As a student at OSU, she became close friends with many international students from China and her best friend that she met at the university now lives in Hong Kong. Agnes has never been to Asia and is excited to be representing Columbus and the local running community in our sister city of Hefei.

Kelly O’Dell

Kelly, 37, works for Fleet Feet Sports and previously worked as a Race Coordinator in the Recreation & Parks Department for the City of Columbus, assisting with dozens of events, including the Columbus Marathon & 1⁄2 Marathon. She has participated in everything from 5Ks to 24-hour endurance runs, and loves giving back to the running community and seeing countries coming together and being side by side. She is excited to share what the city has to offer in Hefei!

Paul Carringer

Paul, 57, is a professor at Columbus State Community College and Franklin University and a local business owner. He has been running for 37 years and has competed in more than 154 marathons, including the Columbus Marathon many times. He also has been a pacer for 35 marathons and sees marathon running as a wonderful vehicle for bringing people of many different lands and cultures together. Paul, a member of the marathon exchange with Dresden in 2012, can’t wait to visit Hefei and represent Columbus.


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