The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon will be held for the 41st time on Sunday, with this year marking the 15th edition of the ½ Marathon. 

It’s a welcome return for distance runners after last year’s edition of the race was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Officials announced in May that with progress made in the battle against COVID-19, the races would plan a return to an in-person race in October. The decision to hold the race in-person was made after race officials worked with local and state leaders and health officials for months.

The only hard part that’s left? Actually running the race. Here are a few tips to make Sunday as successful as possible for those participating.

Columbus Marathon: The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and ½ Marathon to be in-person this fall

When are the marathon and 1/2 marathon?

The 26.2-mile and 13.1-mile races will take place on Sunday with the start/finish line at North Bank Park at the intersection of Neil Avenue and Long Streets. The corrals open at 6 a.m. The wheelchair division will kick off at 7:25 a.m. with the marathon and 1/2 marathon start times at 7:30 a.m.

What COVID restrictions are there?

The Columbus Marathon board of trustees announced last month that all athletes, volunteers, event personnel and vendors in an “active athlete area” —  such as the Health and Fitness Expo, start/finish areas and fluid stations —  must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test prior to participation in the event Sunday.

Related article:Support the Most Meaningful Marathon in the Country

The protocols also include those picking up a race number and t-shirt at the marathon’s Health & Fitness Expo Friday and Saturday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, which is also governed by Columbus’ citywide mask mandate.

According to the marathon website, athletes must show proof of full vaccination that was completed by 12 p.m. on Oct. 12, or proof of a negative test. The acceptable testing window for athletes begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and goes through the closing of the Health & Fitness Expo at 6 p.m. Saturday.

More information about showing proof of vaccinations or negative tests can be found on the race’s website.

Read more: Columbus Marathon to require proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test for athletes

Any advice about parking?

With thousands of people headed Downtown, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to park. Come up with a parking plan ahead of race day, and try to get there early. This map shows multiple options for places to park in the Arena District.

Keep in mind that there will be a few street closures around the start/finish, according to the marathon’s website:

  • Long Street between High Street and Hocking Street
  • Spring Street from West Street to Hocking Street
  • Neil Avenue between Nationwide Boulevard to the start/finish at North Bank Park

What will the weather be like on race day?

While rain showers are forecast for Friday and Saturday, it looks like race day should be sunny and comfortable. The high temperature Sunday is expected to be near 65, according to the National Weather Service office in Wilmington


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