Legacy Runners’ Insights: Race-Day Advice from Those Who Have Put in the Miles

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon (NCHCM) “Legacy Runners” are a group oflong-time, Columbus-based marathon runners. When we say “long-time,” we mean some have been part of every one of our previous 39 races! One of the runners who is part of this select group will celebrate his 84thbirthday this week; and as of last year’s NCHCM, was still participating. Through their expertise, passion and personal insights, some of our legacy runners have graciously shared great race-day tips.

Advice from NCHCM “Legacy Runners” (prompted by the following 5 questions):

  1. How do you best prepare for the NCHCM the night before and morning of the race?

First, I layout my clothing and number as well as anything I will carry the next day. Try them on and then put everything in one easily found location. Check and charge any electronic unit I will carry the next day. Once that is done rest and eat normally. The idea is be ready and not change my routine.– Mike Reynolds

The night before a long race I put out all the clothes I think I will need 

along with Vaseline. I usually get up at 5am on race day. I drink coffee & eat well-done toast with peanut butter. I stretch & try to relax – Jim Tinstman

2. What is the best time to arrive?

Park downtown at 5:45 AM near the Hyatt Hotel in order to lounge there until 6:20 AM.– Jim Haban

3. What’s the best advice to give to friends and family cheering on a runner during the race?

The start is not a good place to see your runner. Too crowded and momentary. It is better to go to mile 1 (mile marker) on Broad. Then after your runner passes then go down (East on) Broad to see them around 7 miles (as they return from a big loop in Bexley).  Then head back to Broad and High and see them at 13 miles. Finally relax and wait at the finish.– Mike Reynolds

My wife & daughters & friends go around the course to locate parking the day before the race. They learn what streets are closed. They try to get a spot as close to the finish line as possible. – Jim Tinstman

Agree on a spot for them to greet you. A sign is helpful. – Rich Hickle

 4. Do you have any advice as it relates to running Columbus’ course?

The first 13 (miles) are crowded and the last 13 are lonely. There is no physical feature to fear so my only real advice is to break the race into segments and run those fully. For instance: The first 10K finishes the eastern running of the marathon. Then the next 10K finishes the southern section of the race. The next 10K has you headed back downtown. Final 12K is going home. – Mike Reynolds

You will most likely be excited at the fantastic race start and your pace will be too fast. Enjoy the start but dial back your pace as soon as possible. The course is mostly flat so don’t worry about any physical challenges. Relax, enjoy and have fun!– Rich Hickle

 5. What are your tips on physical recovery once a runner has finished the race?

Walk. Drink. Eat what you can tolerate. I like to elevate legs as soon as possible.– Rich Hickle

Do not sit on a cold surface, after the finish line. That would be “hamstring- cramp city.” Walk around and get back to your car or hotel without delay.– Jim Haban

6. What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s running the NCHCM for the first time?

Forget time and prepare to finish. In particular I tell them to keep in mind that after this they are a marathoner since whether you do 1 or 39 it is the same title.– Mike Reynolds

Try to run with someone who is doing your pace – you can converse & the time will go faster.Also, my wife says that if you have your name on your shirt the crowd will shout out to you by name all along the course.  – Jim Tinstman

You’ve done the hard part (training) now enjoy. I have run 68 marathons and COLUMBUS is the best in taking care of the runners. The course and fans are fantastic. I advise to relax, have fun and enjoy!– Rich Hickle

Before race day, go to a thrift store and buy some warm “throw-away” clothing to keep you warm in the Starting Corral. Bring an extra scarf or hat or something to give away to someone you may see there who needs it. I bring extra “Space Blankets” for them. They will appreciate your kindness, and camaraderie.– Jim Haban. Editor’s Note: Goodwill Columbus has a booth at the NCHCM Expo that sells these throw-away clothes items.

Adjust your thinking to consider that getting past 20 miles and feeling good is a very necessary perspective. Twenty miles is mentally “half” the effort, since the last 10K is a major challenge for all and almost impossible for those who are under-trained or not adapted as runners.– Ralph Lowery

Recover with a hot soaking bath. Eat a whole pecan pie with ice cream on top. Rest, and enjoy your achievement.– Jim Tornes

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