In the many years since Pheidippides ran roughly 26 miles from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to deliver the message that the Greeks had defeated the Persians, people have been staging road races commemorating this fabled distance. This weekend, Columbus will be home to the running of the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. Due to our flatter-than-average landscape which allows runners to enjoy faster times, Columbus has been dubbed "the place to do 26.2." Woo hoo.
Both the half marathon and full marathon will start and finish in Downtown Columbus. The runners will gather in the Capitol Square area for the big start, complete with fireworks, and will finish in the Arena District. In between, they will wind their way through our fair city, from Bexley to German Village to Ohio Stadium to Grandview, enjoying the enthusiastic crowds, live music and, hopefully, some beautiful fall weather.
For the second year, Nationwide Children's Hospital is the primary beneficiary of this outstanding event. In 2012, the race generated more than $925,000 for Nationwide Children's Hospital; and again this year, the Columbus Marathon will match up to $100,000 in funds donated by participants.
Most of the miles on the course will be dedicated to a Patient Champion, a current patient of Nationwide Children's Hospital, who will offer support to the runners and a reminder of the wonderful work that is done at the hospital. One mile will be the Encore Mile, represented by the Patient Champions from 2012, and another will be the Angel mile, dedicated to those patients who have passed on.
It will be a moving experience, as is the finish line, where you can witness runners and walkers achieving a big goal. It will be a fun, festive affair, so come on down to cheer on the racers as they finish. Or pop out of your Sunday morning routine to line the route, offer encouragement and meet a Patient Champion. We will all be winners.