For Your Health

Preview: Nationwide Columbus Marathon 2013

Chad W. Lutz

The Nationwide Columbus Marathon ranks among the three most popular marathons in Ohio. Joining the ranks of the Akron Marathon held every September and Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon held in May, the Nationwide Columbus Marathon generates millions of dollars for local economies, much like Akron and The Pig do for their respective cities, and hosts thousands of runners in various race formats. One research study compiled in 2011 shortly after that year's running of the Columbus Marathon showed an overall economic impact of more than $154 million since the race began in 1980.

The 2013 running of the Nationwide Columbus Marathon takes place Sunday, October 20, including both the full marathon and half marathon events. The flat profiles of the full marathon and half marathon courses attract some of the fastest runners in the world. The Men's record for the full marathon sits at a blistering 2:11:02* set in 1980 by Tommy Perrson of Sweden. The Female standard, 2:28:15, was set in 2003 Lyudmyla Pushkina of Ukraine.

The records for the Men and Women's half marathons also reflect the flat profile of the courses at 1:03:30 and 1:14:20 respectively. But even though we're not all Ryan Hall or aspiring Olympians, everyone benefits from the flatter course profiles, which serve as major draws to the event. According to the event website, roughly 20% of the participant field meets Boston Marathon qualification standards running the Nationwide Columbus Marathon each year. The Columbus Marathon allows runners to preview the course using videos accessed through the event Facebook page and website as well as digital maps downloadable as PDFs.

For participation, runners receive technical t-shirts, finisher medals, and discount coupons to local and area retailers, restaurants, and vendors. As for entertainment, the Nationwide Columbus Marathon boasts over 90 DJs, live bands, and radio stations to inspire, motivate, and prod runners along the course. Returning to kick things off are The Danger Brothers, who will be playing the opening festivities at the start line.

Speaking of the start line, both the half marathon and marathon begin simultaneously, and promptly, at 7:30am. Be sure to arrive at least a half hour to an hour early to account for traffic and any prerace warm-ups or rituals necessary for marathon conquest. Yours truly learned the hard way in 2011. The body does not take kindly to attempts at making up lost time.

Runners pick up bibs and event information at the health and fitness expo being held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center downtown in the Battelle Grand Ballroom from Noon to 7:00pm Friday, October 18, 2013, and from 9:00am to 7:00pm Saturday, October 19, 2013. There will be no race-day packet pickup, so be sure to get to the expo before 7:00pm on Saturday.

*To give an idea of where the Men's record for the full stands, a 2:11:02 would have placed 4th ahead of American Meb Keflezighi at the 2012 Olympic Marathon.
photo from