Columbus Marathon

Sun 20th Oct 2019
Lower Scioto Greenway, Columbus, OH 43215, USA

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Tickets $125–$145


From the organizer

Organizer's website

The Columbus Marathon is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization. We organize, promote and execute the annual Nationwide Childrens Hospital Columbus Marathon & Marathon weekend of activities, which includes 26.2-mile and 13.1-mile races, These events, along with a large health & fitness expo, are held on 20 October 2019.

Distances in this event

  1. Half Marathon

    Run 21.1km
    Sun 20th Oct 2019
    Tickets available
  2. Marathon

    Run 42.2km
    Sun 20th Oct 2019
    Tickets available
Course Maps
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Reviews (12)

4.8 out of 5 stars

  • Course
  • Organisation
  • Atmosphere
  • Did the event in 2018

    Great race! Its my local marathon and I love it so much. Its big enough, but small enough. I love that the marathon benefits Children's hospital. Every mile is in our of a child with the exception of mile 11 which is the angel mile. So when you start feel down, or think you can't do it, you think, do it for the kids. The first half has lots of spectators. The back half can be a bit quieter and less spectators. There are a few rollings hills, but not any major climbs.
  • Did the event in 2017

    As I did in 2004, 2015, & 2016 - I returned to downtown Columbus to tackle my "home" race: the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon. As I said last year, this is one of my favorite races and when you look at what goes into this race from all aspects, it isn't hard to see why this is one of the best marathon events in the country. For me this year, the stars had seemingly aligned for what would be a fantastic day, which I'll get to later. Before I get to that part though, here's my overall review of the 2017 Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon.COMMUNICATION (leading up to the race): Spot on as always. Darris Blackford (Race Director) and his team are always so great about letting those who have registered know exactly what is going on with events related to the race, how to stay connected, how to help benefit Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH from this point forward), and so on. The update emails are always well organized and give just enough info to keep one's interest without making you want to hit delete right away. The official Facebook / Twitter / Instagram accounts are also great at providing event information. These are also awesome methods for race organizers to interact with participants by providing answers to FAQ's or simply giving kudos on one's training run. RACE DATE / WEATHER: As always, the NCH Columbus Marathon takes place the 3rd Sunday in October. Normally, this equates to pretty decent weather. This year, however, it was more humid than normal with the threat of some storms moving in during the race. Obviously, organizers can't control or predict the weather, but having this race in October definitely helps manage it!EXPO: Due to construction in the Greater Columbus Convention Center last year, the expo location was moved from where it was in 2015. However, that project has been completed and the expo found its way back to that original location this year. The Battelle Grand Ballroom is, from a logistics perspective, an absolute dream. Official race merch right as you walk in / walk out, vendors of all kinds all across the main level. On the upper level, overlooking all the vendor awesomeness below, runners collect their race collateral (bib, VIP perks, gear bags, t-shirts, etc) in a horseshoe-type setup - up on flight of stairs, loop around the upper level collecting race gear, down the opposite side. This setup makes it very easy to get in, move throughout the expo, get what you need, see what you want (or don't), and head out. PARKING: Personally, I followed the same game plan this year as I did in 2016. Paid ahead for a parking pass for one of the garages near the start/finish line. $30 extra out of pocket, but WELL WORTH IT. Essentially no traffic issues for us the morning of the race (even as we got closer to the start area) and a VERY short walk to the Children's Champion Tent. This paid off later as we had another VERY short walk back to the car after the race and NO traffic issues whatsoever as we left.CHILDREN'S CHAMPIONS: Did I mention that this race directly benefits Nationwide Children's Hospital? One of the biggest ways participants can help - beyond simply registering for the race - is to sign-up to be a Children's Champion as well. Children's Champions are runners & walkers who fundraise for Nationwide Children's Hospital. While there is no minimum fundraising expectation, Children's Champions have the opportunity to earn perks based on how much they raise such as a race-day jersey, custom medal engraving, access to a VIP area pre/post race and more. By the way, the VIP area is pretty cool - free breakfast, massage therapists, post-race lunch, private gear check, etc. While these perks definitely make the race experience enjoyable, raising funds to help children in need makes it incredibly worthwhile. I've had the privilege of being a Children's Champion since 2015 and will continue each year I run the Columbus Marathon!START: The corrals/start line experience is AWESOME. I've been in Corral C all four times I've run this race and I love it. Lots of room to move, PLENTY of porta-johns, great view of downtown Cbus, etc. The build up to the start is also very fun - great deal of music and fireworks that help enhance the positive atmosphere. When you hear "Thunderstruck", you know it's go time!FIRST HALF: During the first mile, runners are still pretty packed together. However, just before the first mile marker, the course widens and you have TONS of room to do whatever you need to do - move over, speed up, slow down, etc. Also, spectators - SPECTATORS EVERYWHERE. If you're looking for a "quiet" race, the first half of the Columbus Marathon is NOT for you. The energy the spectators - casual observers, scheduled entertainment, aid stations, and, most importantly, from the Mile Champions (patients from Nationwide Children's Hospital) - bring to this event is off the charts. Not to mention you get to pass some pretty cool sights - Ohio Statehouse, Franklin Park Conservatory, Drexel Theatre & Capital University, Nationwide Children's Hospital (with a MASSIVE cheer zone!), Katzinger's Deli, German Village, Brewery District, and back to the Ohio Statehouse again before the course split.COURSE SPLIT / SECOND HALF: Just north of the Ohio Statehouse, the half-marathon runners will split off and head back to the finish as the marathoners continue north toward the Arena District (Nationwide Arena, North Market) and Goodale Park, before moving to the campus of The Ohio State University. The crowds slim down a bit during this first part of the second half, but not to worry - they'll pick up again! After traveling north on High St and weaving through the OSU campus, runners do a little jog around Ohio Stadium before heading west into Upper Arlington. The crowds begin to swell again as runners approach mile 18/19, or what I refer to as the "northwest corner" - the farthest point from the start/finish line, before turning sharply south and heading back toward downtown. Runners weave through Upper Arlington and are quickly in Grandview where the crowds are back in full force for the remainder of the race. Mile 20 to the finish is largely regarded as the section where many runners run their fastest 10K of the race. The course takes runners through historic neighborhoods on the north side of downtown and then back through the Arena District before heading back to North Bank Park and the finish. FINISH: Making the final turn onto Long Street and heading to the finish has always been a favorite moment of mine. It's all downhill from that turn with a very slight incline as you come around a curve with .2 to go. The crowds are incredible during the last two miles of the race and are very reminiscent of what crowds were like during the entire first half of the race. A huge big screen and a DJ calling out names await runners as they approach the finish lineMEDAL: Once again, the medal (see attached photo) does not disappoint, capturing the fireworks display from the start of the race. Not the largest medal, but still one of my favorites to earn - and once you've got it, trust me: you've EARNED it. ***
    MY RACE: As I stated at the top, this race had the potential to be something really special. 3 weeks earlier, I had absolutely CRUSHED my marathon PR (4:45) by running a 4:08 at the Akron Marathon. For those who aren't familiar with Ohio geography, Akron has hills - lots of them. By comparison, Columbus is flat - very flat. By following a really great training plan, and crushing a PR on a hilly course, I absolutely thought that breaking 4 hours was in the bag. I THOUGHT WRONG. Maybe 30 minutes before the start of the race, I got a sharp shooting pain in my right shoulder which would have me running very tense (and too fast to compensate) for the first 10k. Not good. Upon arriving near the 14th mile, my body just was not having anything to do with this whole day and I had to begin run/walking. Got to mile 20 and a feeling of nausea was kicking in, but no resolution from it. Mile 24 brought said resolution (read: vomit - sorry, it happens). It just was not my day, but I was still able to finish and snagged a COURSE PR by about 15 minutes. Additionally, my goal for 2017 was to run 1000 miles, which I hit right around mile 18.5. Despite the day not going as planned, I'll take these two little victories and move forward!
    ***The Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon is a fast and relatively flat race, great for runners of all skill levels. I've said it before and I'll said it again, Columbus and the surrounding communities are made up of thriving arts districts, green spaces, historic landmarks and amazing local businesses - making Columbus a great place to live, work, play, and visit.
  • Did the event in 2017

    "Can open, worms everywhere!", the immortal words of the Chandler Bing character from "Friends" rings tried and true in so many ways. A little over three weeks after breaking the half marathon seal and my appetite for (self) destruction is on maximum overdrive.After portraying one of the slow methodical zombies from The Walking Dead the last four miles of the Grand Lake Marathon on September 23rd, I was hoping I could scratch the itch of getting more consistent by getting right back into it. No one is looking to be one of those Olympic-caliber speedster living dead folks from 28 Days Later , but I don't want to end up like that damn tortoise whose only recourse to beating the hare is to have a large close-knit family or somehow find the clone generating machine from The Prestige.My impatience led to my signing up for the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon in an effort to quell my need to replace my lackluster virgin half marathon with a Hugh Hefner-like, been-there-done-that type 13.1 miles. I think what annoyed me most about the first one was that I had training runs where I had ran faster...oh, did I mention I'm a bit competitive? (41 going on 14...that's me)For example, the Friday following the initial half, I ran my own 13.1 route and did it in 1:36:47 (7:22 pace). Not my fastest, but three minutes faster than the race in Celina - ridiculous. Obviously, I have to work on pacing, but I can't help but be overeager...its in my nature. I have been playing with a race split calculator I found online to get a better idea of how NOT to take off like a banshee and finish like an original Keurig machine struggling to push water through pod number 1,000. And actually putting such things into action is whole other story.My attempt to answer to this quandary? ...repeats...of the half-mile and mile variety, as well as progression runs. I've never been one to follow a suggested workout word for word, but I did take pieces of some speed workouts from and mix them in with what I remember from my college running days (holy crap...its been 20 years?!). These are easier said than done, but as long as you aren't passive aggressive about them - and actually do it - you are holding up your end of the bargain.That reminds me - speaking of passive aggressive - my next door neighbors in my building, Bob and his lovely (whack job) wife, apparently have issues with my ability to know...human. He has an oxygen tank he has to lug around along with a cane to assist in getting from here to there, I couldn't imagine the struggle he gets to deal with on a daily basis. He does get out quite a bit, just slow and methodically. His wife rarely gets out, but can be heard echoing throughout our building - usually complaining about any and everything described elegantly with clusters of F-word variations. They used to ask for my assistance on a few things and I was happy to oblige. Then, unfortunately, it became an everyday (several times a day) thing. I had somehow become their personal home health aid and (sometimes) bank.To combat this, I started telling them "No" or "I can't". Suddenly, they began to ignore me and I was satisfied with the fact they had picked up on my hints to stop using me as their crutch. Instead of just simply finding other means of assistance, they began to retaliate. Not viciously, but in the way an eight-year old would do so. This included my mail being taken out of my mailbox and thrown on the floor, their Mountain Dew cans tossed into the bushes and garden I maintain (and manicure) for our landlord and cranking up their video games as loud as they can get them....Video games?Yes, this 60-ish couple has grown accustomed to playing Ms. Pac-Man & Pac-Man at all hours of the day with W.J. (whack job) yelling out and referring to the games ghost villains Inky, Blinky, Pinky & Clyde has "bitches" and to Sue as "you stupid whore" when they apparently catch up to her. Now, I can sort of understand this - I, too, was just as into this game at one time. The only difference being I was about seven and it was 1982 (that does not mean finding one of these arcade games around today would require an hour so break in order to pump quarters into it, nostalgia can be a guilty pleasure).I lent Bob a book awhile back, Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, and it was pseudo returned this last week. And by "returned" I mean tossed within a three foot radius of my door. Not up against my door or in a bag hanging on my doorknob, but in a position like it may have been dropped by a passerby. I guess I should be thankful he had the wherewithal to at least fling toward my apartment.At the moment W.J. and Bob keep taking the floor mat in front of my door. I've found it tossed out our building's front door, laying in the trash, tossed down the basement stairs or it just disappears into oblivion. Since not all of the apartments are occupied, I just replace those that go missing with one of the others. And they, too, will disappear a short time later. I imagine the apartment next door is somehow being insulated by a variety of random floor mats, Art Deco style. Just think of all the cigarettes (yes, she still smokes in their apartment despite Bob's need for oxygen because he simply can't breathe on his own), Totino's Party Pizza and Mountain Dew they could buy if their floor decorating skills became hit?!Moral of the story...say what you mean, do what you say, get things done and speak your mind - don't be a W.J. or oxygen thief.So...attempting to go slower at the beginning of a run takes some getting used to and is awkward to me, but it does feel better speeding up in the middle of each run when you are loose and warmed up. This is easy to do when running alone, but doing it while running with others is hard. A few weeks of playing with progression running (along with reaching the 1,000 mile mark for the year, hitting run number 200 of 2017 and reaching 19,000 feet in total elevation in that time period) had me excited for half marathon part deux.As with the initial 13.1, there would be some exquisite scenery to occupy the eyes. Starting in North Bank Park we maneuver through downtown Columbus to the Ohio State House and head east along historic Route 40 (Broad Street) and into the suburb of Bexley. Then its a slow, methodical u-turn to the right for a return trip west to take us past Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens followed by a jaunt through the Olde Town East neighborhood before heading south to Nationwide Children's Hospital. The group then wraps around the hospital to venture further west into German Village before heading south to circle the cities' second oldest park, Schiller Park. From there it is onto High Street to the west - Columbus' main artery - for a long straight stretch north passing through the Brewery District and downtown (along with passing the Ohio State House a second time) to finish back at North Bank Park in the shadow of Nationwide Arena and Huntington Park. I thought, if I could reach 1:35:00 at minimum (barring any catastrophes), I would be satisfied.Though, as with all races, assumptions and expectations change...and change quickly. Sometimes its the race, sometimes its the week leading up to it and other times - it's both.The weekend before, while on a long run, I felt some tenderness in my right calf. Not too worried about it, I continued on. The very next day, on a short Sunday run, it arrived with full force: a calf strain. I attempted some light running/jogging in the days afterward, but it wouldn't allow for it. All I could do was apply ice to reduce swelling, then heat to keep it loose - and apparently compression is a big key. So I bought calf compression sleeves to at least be more comfortable while on my feet at work, and it was. Still a bit tender (but not quite as painful), I was hoping I could improve before the coming of Sunday's half marathon. With it being Wednesday, I had nearly four full days before the race and wearing the compression sleeve 24/7 with light stretching and ice application ever so often.That night, I had to call the Marion County Court of Common Pleas Jury Duty line to see if my requested civic duty would be needed (I received the notice in the mail the previous week). The automated message indicated the case I was to be associate with would, in fact, be going on.So Thursday morning, I arrive at 8:30 and listen to the bailiff's instructions before being tabbed as juror number 9. We then wait...for two hours. During this time I tried to keep to myself and relax, but Marty would have none of it. Marty, juror number 3, wanted to chat. Ignoring him didn't work, so I entertained his rambling for a few minutes. Come to find out Marty is self-employed and runs a home maintenance business and let us (the jurors) know several times he would be losing $200 a day by having to be there. Oh, and I almost forgot, he has a side business - selling handmade soaps at trade shows and such.I was only casually annoyed, but felt honored that ol' Marty did offer (force upon) his business card before finding another juror to pester. Now nearly 10:30, we finally rise as Judge William R. Finnegan takes a seat. He proceeds to explain his appreciation for our willingness to do our civic duty, but despite the fact we are ready to go...the two sides involved have settled out of court (or just outside of the courtroom that morning, as it would be). So two hours of hanging out at the historic Marion County Courthouse resulted in a $12 jury duty check for having to suffer through Maintenance Marty and a hook-up for my next soap purchase.On Friday - October 13th no less - (two days before half marathon part deux), I had to bite the bullet and attempt to run - even the slightest jog. Not an easy thing to do since, psychologically, I will want to avoid putting pressure on the calf muscle - but I had to rip the band-aid off. So, after work I put it to the test hoping I could get some frame of reference for Sunday. Running on eggs shells I took my sweet time and covered 3.78 miles in 27:58 (7:24). The calf was still a little tender, but I could run with actual form - BOOM! I should be able to do my own thing on Sunday and not attempt to set the world on fire. I did notice, though, I paid 1,000% attention to any, all and every crack, pebble and less-than-smooth surface in my path. I'll be damned if I re-injure myself. With that, I would be idle till Sunday's race and use Saturday to visit the race expo for packet pickup.Arriving prior to sunrise I hangout stretching, warming up and peeing (several times) with the 18,000 half & full marathoners. Being in group "A" meant I had the privilege of starting up front. This meant I got to see the eventual winners for a half-second before they disappeared. We had the fireworks, then the gun and we are off. Not having run a race of this magnitude before, I spent the first quarter mile navigating through the masses of people. Once we reach the larger streets (beginning with High Street), the lanes open up. I take to the outside to give myself room on the turns, as the lemmings tend to cram into one another and stay in the middle.We then turn to the left onto Broad Street and I hug the curve along the pedestrian fencing, but just as I do several spectators are hanging over the fence to gawk and I (unintentionally) bump up against a female spectators arm. She isn't looking anywhere near the course and I'm sure it scared the crap out of her. We hit hard enough that I though I heard my watch turn off. Luckily that was not the case. No one was hurt, but this did end up being a reoccurring theme throughout the race. Several times I would come super close to, or brush up against, spectators stepping onto or leaning into (or standing on) the course. For the love - GET OFF THE COURSE - or just pay attention.After re-gathering my bearings, I find some rhythm. I skip the first water stop because I'm feeling good and at the 7k mark I'm at 29:08. Still a little too fast for my taste, but not crazy fast. I hit all the remaining water stops, essentially swishing Gatorade and spitting it out, then sipping some water and pouring the rest of it down my back. Not familiar with in-race fueling, this was the best way for me to keep from choking or hacking through liquids while running. I haven't passed many people, but have maintained position. Eyeing a few familiar folks near me and just ahead would keep me abreast of where I was in regards to placement.Some fatigue began to set in around mile seven, as some of those familiar folks started to distance themselves. The 3:05:00 marathon pacer (and his followers) slide by me and I smile, thinking you poor bastards, I'M nearly finished. At the 15k time post, I'm at 1:06:50. I'm definitely feeling the fatigue now, but my form is good and my pace is better than I imagined (and better than three weeks ago). Then just after mile 10 (and passing the cheering girlfriend for a second time), my calf reminds me it isn't 100 percent. With Schiller Park just ahead, I feel the pull and then the pain shoot through my leg. "Son of a bitch", is the thought that runs through my head.I slowdown, but keep going with a somewhat exaggerated limp and hoping the pain would subside. A few steps later, I can still feel it but it isn't excruciating and I can still run with some sort of form. Though, I have obviously slowed - and ecstatic I didn't have to come to a complete stop. With a 5k still to go, all I could do was focus on form and attempt to stride. It did, however, suck to watch what seemed like hundreds of folks passing me (that number ended up being 78, but it felt like hundreds).Grinding my way through the remaining two miles and the half/full marathon split, I just wanted to reach the finish. Luckily, it arrives (finally) and I see out of the corner of my eye a time of 1:37: - something or other. And, unlike the last time, I remember to stop my watch. I step across the finish and I'm in a sea of red clad medical personnel. Exhausted, I glance around and they are sort of just standing there. I take a few more steps, glancing around looking for some refreshment and ask, "water...?"I continue dragging my worn out body forward and notice about 10 to 15 yards ahead of me a couple of tables loaded with bottles of water, along with folks handing out finishers medals. I get my medal, guzzle a bottle of water and take another for later, and pose for a couple of exhausted post-race pictures. I'm then handed a plastic bag and walk through the gauntlet of snack stations, it was like a runner's trick-or-treat. I walk out of the participant only area with my medal and plastic bag overflowing with snacks, fruit, protein bars and samples of what not.My official time: 1:37:06 (303rd out of 9,625 finishers, 27th in my age group). Though, the last three mile splits were :30 seconds (or more) slower than the previous ten (7:51, 8:12, 7:49). The calf strain put a dent into the last quarter of my race, but I still finished more than 2:30 faster than my initial half marathon just three weeks before.Two half marathons in three weeks, each under 1:40:00. Hard to complain, but I need to be more consistent. And my half-marathon PR - technically - is still one I ran by myself as practice around Marion (1:36:28). I will be hitting some shorter races in the next few weeks, hoping to keep my enthusiasm above sea level and my right calf from disintegrating.As the holiday season revs it's engine (October through January), Ohio's unpredictable weather will surely follow suit. And like the postal worker, the runner mission hits high gear - Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor grade of incline stays these harriers from the swift completion of their miles on time......or some crap like that - Run On friends!Kaiser Chiefs - RubyLet it never be said
    The Romance is dead
    'Cause there's so little else
    Occupying my headThere is nothing I need
    except the function to breathe
    But I'm not really fussed
    Doesn't matter to meRuby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby
    Do you, do you, do you, do you
    Know what you're doing, doing, to me
    Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, RubyDue to lack of interest
    Tomorrow is canceled
    Let the clocks be reset
    And the pendulums held'Cause there's nothing at all
    Except the space in-between
    Finding out what you're called
    And repeating your nameRuby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby
    Do you, do you, do you, do you
    Know what you're doing, doing, to me
    Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, RubyCould it be, could it be
    That you're joking with me?
    And you don't really see you and me [x2]Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby
    Do you, do you, do you, do you
    Know what you're doing, doing, to me
    Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby
    Do you, do you, do you, do youKnow what you're doing, doing, to me
  • Did the event in 2017

    Very well organized event. I worked the expo for 2 days for GCM and was able to meet a lot of other vendors/race ambassadors. Plenty of vendors available, even snagged a new pair of shoes while there.This was the largest field of people I had ever run with, and it shows when you enter race day. Corrals are clearly marked and people are directing you where to go based on your bib. Plenty of course marshals out to make sure you knew where to head.Some of the roads were a bit rough, but that's to be expected when running thru a downtown. I'd run it again without question.
  • Did the event in 2016

    The course is great, amazing crowd support with plenty of aid stations. The first few miles are crowded until things get sorted out. The course is mostly flat without much shade if it's a hot day. The race is downtown so parking is a little difficult and you will have to pay. That being sad I have not liked the shirts any year I have done the race so far. The first year I ordered a XS and it ended up being a tiny hot pink v-neck that was so low cut I never ran it in. The next year I ordered a S and it was HUGE and way too long. I considered hemming it but then just gave it away. Worst of all there was no shirt exchange. For how much the race costs and how much shirt sizing fluctuated for the race over the year, I was disappointed how the shirts issues were seemingly ignored by race management. Otherwise, a well put on race.
  • Did the event in 2016

    This is a rather big half/full marathon. The course seemed fast as I set a Pr here. The whole time it felt like a great experience. The expo is huge and a lot to check out. The race starts with fireworks and the playing of “Thunder” by ACDC which really got people pumped up. The best part? Every mile recognizes a child who is a champion from the Children’s Hospital. All around this race was put on very well from beginning to end.
  • Did the event in 2016

    Exceptionally well-run and delivered. Improves every year! Run the half a few times and the marathon once. Always look to return given the fast course, fall leaves in color, typical good weather and a city that takes pride in supporting the race. Crowd support is larger than many races including all in the area with the exception of Flying Pig, which may be slightly larger. Water, port-o-cans and traffic control are second to none! If there is a negative, it is the medical tent. Woefully unprepared to handle extreme cases as if you need more than minor attention and are transported here, you re-board the ambulance and head to the hospital. They were not even prepared to provide a saline IV for severe dehydration.Expo is fairly large for this size race and parking can be a bit difficult especially if the race falls on the weekend for a home Ohio State football game. Lodging and food in this midwest city is very good as well as affordable.
  • Did the event in 2016

    I ran my very first marathon ever back in 2004 and it just so happened to be the Columbus Marathon. I never ran another race beyond a 10k until 2015 when I took on Columbus again. This past year, in 2016, I returned once more and have essentially dubbed the Columbus Marathon as my "home race". When you look at all the things that go into this race as well as the city itself, it isn't hard to see why.First, the date of the race. Almost always the 3rd Saturday in October, which generally means relatively cooler temperatures throughout the race. While sometimes unusually warmer temperatures or higher humidity sneak in to make the race a little tougher, this race is often very comfortable to run.The Expo = A+. Always a great atmosphere with fantastic vendors and merch to check out. Over the last two years, more and more LOCAL (Columbus as well as Ohio based) vendors are getting in on the fun. All of the volunteers helping with packet pickup are always very friendly and are just as excited as the runners!Parking. Any time there are thousands of people trying to get to a specific location, there are bound to be traffic issues. Plan, get there early, be smart. No different than any other major event. The corrals/start line experience is awesome. I've been in Corral C all three times I've run this race. Lots of room to move, PLENTY of porta-johns, etc. The build up to the start is also very fun - great deal of music and fireworks that help enhance the positive atmosphere.Along the first half of the course there are spectators EVERYWHERE! There are very few spots in the first 13.1 where spectators are absent. The energy is amazing from the casual observer, scheduled entertainment, aid stations, and - most importantly - from the Mile Champions (patients from Nationwide Children's Hospital). The spectator numbers drop off slightly during the Ohio State University section of the race, but pick back up on the way back into downtown. The medal (see attached photo) is awesome - and a bit weighty! The strap on the medal serves as a reminder that you definitely earned it. The Columbus Marathon is a great race and the City of Columbus is a great place to live, work, and play. From our thriving arts districts and green spaces to our historic landmarks and amazing local businesses (read: breweries), Columbus is the place to be. Get signed up and come check out my "home" race. See you at the start line in October!
  • Did the event in 2016

    The Columbus Marathon is one of my favorite races, mainly because it was the first race that I qualified for the Boston Marathon (2008). Qualifying took me a few tries, but was finally to do it in Columbus. The typically fast, flat race usually is accompanied with cooler temps with a race date in the middle of October.The Columbus Marathon Expo is always a solid expo. The size of the city and entrants always draws great vendors that have plenty of cool gear. I typically cruise through expos now because most of the gear is the same at every single race. The only things I normally will look at either shirts that support local shops or a unique item that doesn’t cost $100 like a beer mug or pint glass.Parking was simple because I had a detailed map of a few options. Traffic definitely was a little hectic in the city, but as long as you get there early, its not too bad. The corral setup was great. Corral A had plenty of bathrooms, space, and people to chat with before the race started. I showed up at 6:45, so I had plenty of time to stretch, relax, and hydrate. The weather was warm and the humidity felt high, which usually isn't the case for Columbus in October.Once the race started, I was impressed with solid crowds through most of the course. The water stations were clearly marked and it was easy to figure out the water and sports drink distributors. The one that was awesome later in the race was seeing the kids from the Nationwide Hospital. They were a constant motivator and really helped me during the late miles. By mile 20, the humidity and warmer weather really got to me. I wasn't that impressed with the food after the race, but then again after you run a race, all I really wanted was a beer. The medal was solid. The one thing I am not a big fan of is the amount of time you are on high street. Even though its only a few miles, it feels like forever.All in all Columbus is an awesome race and I would recommend it if you haven't completed it.Full Review:
  • Did the event in 2016

    I loved every single part of this race. The start line is all high energy and fireworks. I paced with a friend for the first half, and crowd support was amazing. Each mile represents a kid that has spent some time at Nationwide Children's and it really is inspiring. I could not hold back tears for the mile 11 Angel Mile for all the kids that didn't make it. Once the half splits off, it gets pretty lonely running through the Short North up to campus. There is a pretty decent hill around mile 16-17, then the "corny field" is hilarious. Once you pop back out into the neighborhoods of Upper Arlington, there is a TON of crowd support again and it gets a little shady (thank God because it was HOT). The Grandview Yard was the worst kind of pain doing an out and back section of a boulevard on bricks. Once you leave there its headed back downtown with lots more spectators.
    The medals are heavy, I had to make my dad carry it for me. The PR gong was a nice touch. Bob Evans served pancakes and sausage afterwards. They had a tent set up for purchasing finishers gear which I had to have of course. I live locally, and traffic was heavy, so my husband actually got to a certain point and just dropped me off to walk to the start probably a mile away. They went and stood at mile 2 since the half comes back up that same point around mile 7 so I could see them 2x before they drove up to campus and back downtown again.
    Plenty of water stops, great crowd support, great volunteers, miles 13-17 feel like no man's land, but then its great again. Finisher area to meet up with families was also great with lots of tents and a band. Love Love 100000% recommend.

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