Where: Columbus Ohio
EXPO: The expo was very organized and finding your way around was very easy. You picked your packet up from the second level and did your shopping on the first level. It was not as big as some of the other expo’s I have been too, but it still had anything you may be looking for. One thing I really thought was different was Goodwill had a section and you could go buy used running clothes or sweat outfits to throw away at the beginning of the race. Genius idea here, just keep recycling the clothes.
SWAG: Nike Tech T shirt and a bag with some coupons and a cliff bar. Compared to other marathons this bag did not have many things in it. However this race is all about the Children, so I ask you would you rather get a bag full of useless things or would you rather see the money go to the charity? I choose charity over junk any day.
PRE-RACE: Corrals opened at 5:45 and were supposed to close at 7:00 for the 7:30 start. I don’t think they ever closed though because it seemed like more and more people kept packing in. There were plenty of restrooms outside the corrals and once you were in the corrals there were more restrooms off to the side. This was nice because I am a person that loves to get into the corral early and no one knew the port-o-potty’s were there, so I was able to go a few times with no wait. Before the race started they sang the National Anthem and shot off fireworks. I was told they did this for every wave start. After the fireworks they played ACDC Thunderstruck and it was funny because one minute we are all standing there silent then the next minute we are all jumping up and down like Mexican jumping beans. I was pumped too from the music so you may have seen my little bald head bouncing around as well.
COURSE: I have mixed emotions on the course. When you sign up for the marathon you will see many things saying “fast and flat course”. Now maybe because I just came off of doing the Erie half marathon which was a totally flat course that I define flat different than the race directors. The course has a crazy amount of turns and I felt like you were either running up a slight grade or running down one. This made it particularly hard to establish a set pace. The towns you do run through are very nice and the fans came out in full force to cheer you on with some clever signs. (My favorite was “run like her father just walked in on you”) One thing I especially loved is every mile is designated to a child who has been helped from the hospital. The child had a big, orange foam hand for the runners to high five as they passed by. It was pretty awesome to see the children cheering us on. Mile 11 through 12 is known as the angel mile. Instead of being designated to one child this mile is for all the children who unfortunately did not make it through their fight. At mile 13 when the full and the half break off the full marathoners go a few miles then head into Ohio State University. Once again a lot of turns, but what was really cool was you run down a tunnel and onto the field of their stadium and out the other side. Even though I am not a Buckeye fan I had to appreciate the atmosphere, while part of me wanted to scream “GO PENN STATE” even though I am a Pitt fan.
The marathons website had a small video going over part of the course and in the video they tell you that most people will probably run their fastest 10k at the end of the race, saying it is all downhill. When I hear this I guess my mind thinks of a big hill that you can drop your arms and let your body carry you part of the way. Well I already knew from the driving the course on Saturday that it was not like this at all. After the race I heard a lot of people saying “I kept waiting for that downhill and it never came.” Was it a little grade downhill? I guess you can say that but honestly I wasn’t able to tell. When you do come up to the finish you can hear the roar of the crowd about a mile out. Then about with a half mile left you start to see flags on both sides of the road and you know you are in the final stretch. Fans lined both sides of the streets and were screaming as we all came in. They even had bleachers for some fans to sit high up and look down on us as we crossed the line.
BLING: This metal may not be as thick as some of the medals I have hanging on my wall, but it is huge. When they put it around my neck I felt like I was Flavor Flav wearing the big clock around my neck
POST RACE: Out of all the races I have ever done I think for me this was the most organized for post-race. You crossed the line, walked a few feet and someone put your medal around your neck. You then walked a few more feet and were given your Mylar blanket. You then walked down a fenced in area and made a u turn and came up the other side and were then given water, chocolate milk, cookies, bagels, and bananas. Then before you exited the fenced in area to go meet your family you were given a bag that had some more food in it. If you were one of the lucky people to PR that day you could walk over to the PR gong and bang the shit out of it. It was cool to see so many people with excitement as they banged it. Everything was clearly marked and navigating was very easy.
MY EXPERIENCE: I will save you all the song and dance of me writing about the whole race again since I posted my race on Monday. I will say, this race had a lot of positive things that I really liked about it and a lot of things I could of did without. Overall it is very organized and everyone involved does an amazing job to make sure it goes off without a glitch. I am honestly glad I decided to run it, even if I didn't do my predicted time I still had fun. Plus one thing I will take away is even if it was just a few hours of me running and high fiving a child sitting on the side of the road, I feel like running that race made a difference. And for me that is what running is about, it’s not about the size of the medal or what you got in your goodie bag. It’s about the people you meet on your journey who help you and the people you help along the way. So I suggest if you haven’t ran this race yet and are looking for a fall marathon this is one you want to look into. Class Act is the best way I can describe it.