I’m not sure how to describe the Columbus Marathon where I ran the full marathon this year. It will be a bittersweet race memory for me because I was injured and not able to give my best effort on the course. But it will always make me smile because I was so moved and motivated by all of the Children Champions that represented one of the 26 miles throughout the course. They were out there, cheering, holding foam fingers waiting for high fives and full of energy themselves. How can you not get a boost in your step when seeing that at each mile? It was an amazing experience to be a part of and I encourage any runner to put this race on your schedule and run either the half or the full. Now, onto my reviews of the individual categories of my personal race experience.
Expo Quality: The expo was in a convention center location but I made the mistake of parking on the opposite side of the building so that made for a long walk to the expo itself. The acquisition of my bib and race shirt was seamless with no wait. There was time to meet up with a couple of IG friends as well since no time was wasted in lines. I was a little disappointed that there were not more vendors there, some specific ones come to my mind but it didn’t make the expo a total loss. Also, there was some very nice race merchandise.
Parking Access: Parking garage for the expo which was useful. No need for parking for race day; just walked over from my hotel. Only negative was having to valet for the time I was there at the hotel where I was staying.
Course Scenery: Lovely streets and neighborhoods with a lot of crowd support along the way. Not full like a WM race but certainly plenty of people cheering the runners on; very nice to have them out there. I would have given this five stars BUT, and this is kind of a petty but, I wish instead of running around the Horseshoe (OSU’s stadium), it would have been really sweet, if possible, to run through it in some way. But, overall, the course was one of the nicer ones I’ve had the privilege of running.
Elevation Difficulty: No major hills but plenty of subtle up and downs throughout the race. But, like I said, it was minimal elevation on each of them. But when you’re running 26.2, any elevation in those closing miles is rough, haha.
Aid Stations: Great. Plain and simple. Water/Gatorade was never filled too high in the cups, I never spilled on myself and I never felt like over hydrated myself which can happen sometimes. The volunteers were fabulous and supportive as well as helpful. Great atmosphere at the stations!
T-Shirts/Swag: Nice race shirt with a city backdrop on the front and a listing of all the neighborhoods and at what miles you run through them on the back. Different colors for the men and women as well. Nice assortment of goodies along finisher’s way after crossing the finish line as well. A bevy of eats which were so needed! And the finisher’s medal is well done too.
Race Management: Constant communication over several months leading up to the race was helpful to know what policy changes may or may not occur (like COVID protocols) and what to expect on race day. But the best news that was relayed to race participants was the names and photos of all those Children Champions who were representing all those miles. The uplifting was beginning well before the day of the race.
So, that’s my review and I’ll say it again, you should pay a visit to Columbus and run this the Columbus Marathon. Also, take a few days to check out the city; it has a lot to offer and it did not disappoint.