For Your Health

Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon

Chad W. Lutz
You can almost hear it if you listen closely; thousands of feet pounding to the rhythms of drive and determination as they traverse 26.2 miles of asphalt and agony towards the finish. For some, the morning of October 16, 2011 represents their first bout with the beast called “marathon.” For others, this will be a rematch and yet another test of will and strength on a course that’s ranked as one of the top fall marathons and one of the best marathons in the nation.

The Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon has been a favorite of runners for more than three decades. Currently in its 32nd year, the Columbus Marathon stands as one of the Top 20 marathons in the nation as ranked by Runner’s World magazine and one of the Top 10 fall marathons according to a USA Today ranking. Along with the Road Runner Akron Marathon, Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, Towpath Marathon, Red, White, and Blue 26.2, and Stomp the Grapes Marathon, the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon solidifies Ohio as one of the premiere racing states in the country.

Though lacking a World Marathon Major event, many of the world’s elite runners toe the line at Ohio events every marathon season. This year, the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon expects more than 100 elite athletes to participate in Sunday’s events. Joining the elites will be an expected field of more than 17,000 runners. The 17,000 participants toeing the line at this year’s Columbus Marathon will represent the largest field in the marathon’s history, eclipsing the previous mark set last year by more than 2,000 runners.

Known for its fast course, the Columbus Marathon features the elevation profile of a cornfield. Only differentiating from start to finish by an elevation change of 50ft., many use the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon as an accessible means of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. The 2010 field alone saw nearly 20% of all who ran the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon qualify for Boston.

Participants in the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon receive your typical goodie-bag full of discounts and freebies. Runners also receive a cinch bag and a commemorative technical t-shirt as well as a finisher’s medal upon completing the race. The Columbus Marathon also offers special awards to runners who show the most spirit. Of course, the marathon wants its spectators to go crazy, as well. If you’re in Ohio in the Columbus area, or plan on attending the marathon festivities, be sure to come prepared to have fun!

Registration for the half marathon is sold out. Registration for the full marathon is still available, but spaces are filling up quickly. Runners can register at the expo for the full marathon for a fee of $105. The Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon has not raised prices in more than five years and stands as one of the best marathons in the country in terms of overall value.

So what makes the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon so valuable? In addition to a fast course, goodie bags, a marathon expo, and the race itself, the Columbus Marathon touts an impressive 107-band lineup to play along the course. Runners will hear tunes from virtually every genre imaginable, including local Ohio acts The Danger Brothers, Jinxed, Ohio Pro DJ, and many, many more.

But we all know the value derived from lacing up to tackle 26.2 miles on any given day isn’t in the price. It’s in the millions of minutes and gallons of sweat spent in training and preparation. If you think you’re in marathon shape and want to test your abilities on a flat, fast course, then sign up for the Columbus Marathon and toast to your better health.