I love the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Half Marathon. I love it. And I haven’t even run it yet!
They are so awesome with their outreach and social media. There was a special “Tweet Up” today where anyone who saw the event on Twitter or Facebook could come hang out and sit indian style with the race director and other runners, and just talk about the big day.
Darris – the race director – amazes me! He knew the answer to every question without having to think about any of them.
He knew the best places for spectators, the exact number of port-a-potties. He knew the best roads to drive in on in the morning, exactly what would food would be served at the end. He knew the course backward and forward. He knew every detail with no notes and no hesitation.
You could tell that he genuinely cared about making the race the absolute best it could be.
He stressed to us that he loves feedback, and after we run, he wants to hear about anything they could do better. Someone brought up some concerns from last year (port-a-potties and food), and he could quickly rattle off all the improvements they made after getting feedback, so I trust that he (and the rest of the race staff) really listens.
And they really think about every detail. There are shuttles for spectators to watch their runners go through the stadium, and then get down to the finish line. There are free gloves and free breakfast vouchers for runners and spectators who get there early.
The people behind the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Half Marathon seem to really have thought of everything for everyone – not just the runners, but the runners’ friends and family.
So, we all became bffs at the Tweet Up, and then it was time to rock the expo.
I stayed for hours talking to everyone. There were a bunch of sweet people and sweet events they were promoting – stair climbs, relay races. I want to come back to Ohio every weekend!
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers had a booth that gave out stickers, and if you wore one through the finish line, you got a free box combo after the race! What? The world is being Nelson Muntz to me right now. “Ha ha, you’re a vegetarian!” Rargh.
Oh well. Every runner gets free Chipotle! I can happily eat as a vegetarian/vegan there, thank you very much.
There was a fun booth by a new company – Road Head Athletics – that had mohawks and such attached to headbands that you could wear as you run. The people at that booth were really fun (as was the headgear).
There was a Girls on the Run booth. We all know how much I love them. They asked if I’d ever thought about being a mentor/coach person. It had never even dawned on me that that would even maybe be something possible for me, but I would love it! I love the idea of empowering young women through running. That is going to be one of the first things I look into once these 52 half marathons in 52 weeks are over.
The best part of the whole expo was that at 12:30, I reported to the hallway for a drawing for a gift card. (You had to be present to have a chance of winning.)
Once they called the first name, I looked around to see a person waving his hand and smiling. As I looked to my right, standing one person away from me, was an absolutely amazing friend of mine who I’d gone to high school with! I freaked out! He freaked out as well. Huge hugs commenced.
Wonderful expo, awesome Tweet Up, lovely day. I’m ready to rock this race with my dad tomorrow!