FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS AND MITIGATION PLANS INCLUDING FAQ
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and 1/2 Marathon remains committed to the safety and health of all participants. Therefore, for the 2021 event, scheduled for Sunday, October 17, as well as the Health & Fitness Expo, scheduled for Friday, October 15 and Saturday, October 16, the Board of Trustees has unanimously instituted the following policy:
All athletes, volunteers, event personnel and vendors in “active athlete areas” including the Health & Fitness Expo, Start/Finish areas and Fluid Stations must show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as defined by the Centers For Disease Control or a negative COVID-19 test prior to participation in the event.
This includes showing proof of vaccination or a negative test result to pick up a race number and t-shirt at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, October 15, and Saturday, October 16. Expo hours are Noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, October 15, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 16.
Per the City of Columbus mask mandate enacted September 10, 2021, masks are required inside the Expo, taking place in Hall E of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The CDC definition of fully vaccinated is as follows:
Two weeks after a second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
Why are these changes being implemented?
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and 1/2 Marathon remains committed to the safety and health of all participants, spectators, event personnel, vendors and volunteers.
We have been working for months with local and state leaders and health officials to create the safest event environment for our athletes, volunteers, event personnel, vendors and the public. These vaccine and testing requirements, along with the City of Columbus indoor mask-wearing mandate, align with our efforts.
What other mitigation efforts are planned?
Hand sanitizer will be readily available at the Expo, throughout the Start/Finish area and in all portable restrooms at the Start/Finish and on the course.
Masks are strongly encouraged for all athletes while in the designated Start and Finish areas, as well as for all spectators, volunteers, event personnel and vendors in active athlete areas at the Start and Finish areas and on the course, including fluid stations.
The mallets used at the PR Gong in the public Finisher Area will be cleaned with sanitizing wipes after each use.
In order to create spacing and reduce congestion during event weekend, the follow measures will be implemented:
The Expo floor plan will be very well-spaced.
Each starting corral will be segmented.
Portable restrooms in the Athlete-only Start/Finish area will be spaced further apart than normal.
Spectator bleachers will not be available in the Start/Finish area.
No pace teams will be offered on the course.
The bandstand in the public Finisher Area will not be accessible to the public; music and announcements from the Start/Finish area will be extended into the public area.
No food carts or non-essential displays or tents will be set up in the public Finisher area.
Other mitigation measures may be added as conditions change or if local, state and federal mandates are enacted to combat the spread of COVID-19.
How do I show proof of vaccination or negative test results at the Expo?
Proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test can be shown via paper card/copy or digitally (phone) at the race number pick-up counter.
Do I need my vaccination card on the course or at water stops?
You do not need to show your vaccination card on race day, on the course, or at water stops. You will show your proof of vaccination or negative test result in order to have your race number released. Once you receive your race number, your race number will serve as confirmation that your status has been confirmed.
Can someone else pick up my number/t-shirt at the Expo?
Yes, but they will need to show their photo ID, your ID (a photo or copy is acceptable) as well as proof of your vaccination or your negative test result. Additionally, they are required to wear a mask when inside the Expo hall per the City of Columbus indoor mask mandate.
Does my family need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to come to the Expo or to attend the race?
No, but they must wear a mask inside the Expo per the City of Columbus indoor mask mandate.
What is the vaccination and testing window?
Athletes – All athletes must show proof of full vaccination that was completed by Noon on Tuesday, October 12, or proof of a negative test. The acceptable testing window for athletes begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 13 and goes through the close of the Health & Fitness Expo at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 16. Any negative test results received during this window will be accepted in accordance with the guidelines detailed below. Athletes are responsible for any testing costs.
Athletes will show proof of vaccination or negative test results at the race packet/number pick-up inside the Expo. Per the City of Columbus mask mandate enacted September 10, 2021, masks are required inside the Expo, taking place in Hall E of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The Athlete’s bib number will serve as confirmation that proof of vaccination or a negative test result has been provided. It is illegal to transfer or give race numbers to anyone not registered for the race. Those caught doing so will be banned from future events.
Will you offer onsite testing at the Expo?
No, we will not offer testing at the Expo. Athletes are responsible for obtaining their own test results prior to arriving at the Expo.
If my test comes back positive and I am unable to race, will I receive a refund?
Because the event is not being cancelled, no refunds will be offered, but registered athletes who show proof of a positive test may have their registration deferred to the 2022 event, which will be held Sunday, October 16, 2022. You will need to email a photo of a positive test result which occurred in the testing window to email@example.com and we will reach out with information regarding how to claim your deferral for 2022.
What if I forget or lose my vaccination card or test results before picking up my race number?
Proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test can be shown via paper card/copy or digitally (phone) at the race number pick-up counter. We suggest you take a photo of your vaccine card or test results and have it on your phone and in your email account to be looked up to be sure you do not encounter any problems.
What types of SARS-CoV-2 test results are acceptable?
Individuals must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Examples of available NAAT methods for SARS-CoV-2 include but are not restricted to:
Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)
Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)
Transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
Nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR)
Helicase-dependent amplification (HDA)
How do I meet the testing requirements?
Individuals can use a personal physician's office, national pharmacy chain, or drive-thru collection clinic provided testing meets the following criteria:
The sample is collected at a personal physician's office, national pharmacy chain clinic, or drive-thru collection site and testing is done on-site (point-of-care) using a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (NAAT or antigen test) with EUA from the FDA.
The sample is collected at a personal physician's office, national pharmacy chain clinic, or drive-thru collection site and testing is performed at an accredited laboratory using a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (NAAT or antigen test) with EUA from the FDA.
Does a self-test meet the requirements?
Individuals can use a self-test (sometimes referred to as home test) that meets the following criteria:
The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (NAAT or antigen test)
Will the 2021 event be the same as previous years?
So much of what you know of or remember experiencing in our Marathon & ½ Marathon will be the same as previous years, and the few changes being made are centered on health and safety. In other words, get ready for the great time you expect from us!
Will the number of people in the race be the same as past years?
We hope our field sizes for the Marathon & ½ Marathon are the same as 2019, but will follow guidance from local and state leaders and health officials.
If we must cut back on the number of people in either race, we will issue refunds to people based upon when they registered, following a “last in, first out” plan. (For example: If 4,000 people register for the Marathon but it is only safe to hold a 3,000-person race, we will refund the last 1,000 people who registered, starting from the most recent person to do so and working backwards).
You issued full refunds when the race was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020. If the race is not able to proceed due to COVID-19 restrictions this year, will you issue refunds?
Yes. If the 2021 race is not able to proceed due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will issue refunds to the credit card with which you registered.
Otherwise, our regular refund policy will be in effect. The only exception will be if our field size is reduced consistent with guidance and protocols established by local or state leaders or health officials; if this occurs, we will issue refunds to people based upon when they registered, following a “last in, first out” plan (see the example in the previous answer).
What is your race change policy?
To change the race you are participating in, please click here. Event changes will permitted until September 5, 2021 or when the event you are transferring into sells out, whichever occurs first.
If you are switching from the 1/2 Marathon to the full Marathon, you will be charged the additional $20 for the upgraded event.
If you are switching from the full Marathon to the 1/2 Marathon: there is no charge to downgrade to the 1/2 Marathon; however, you will not be refunded the difference in price.
What is your race transfer policy?
To transfer your entry to another runner, please click here. Transfers will be permitted until September 5, 2021; this date has been established due to our bib printing timeline. There is a $30 fee to transfer a bib; this fee is charged when the runner receiving the transfer completes the process.
What is your refund policy?
As stated earlier, we typically do not offer refunds. This includes requests made due to injury, surgery, pregnancy, personal circumstances, date conflicts and professional commitments. This is an industry standard policy and not unique to our event.
However, if the 2021 race is not able to proceed due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will issue refunds. Additionally, if our field size is reduced consistent with guidance and protocols established by local or state leaders or health officials, we will issue refunds to people based upon when they registered, following a “last in, first out” plan.
What is your deferral policy?
No deferrals (“carry-overs” or “transfers”) of entry to future years are permitted. Your entry fees from a previous year cannot be deferred or applied to the 2021 event, nor can your entry fees from this year be deferred or applied to a future event. This includes requests made due to injury, surgery, pregnancy, personal circumstances, date conflicts and professional commitments. We do offer the ability to transfer your bib to another runner.
Am I able to change my shirt size before the event?
To change your shirt size, please click here. Shirt size changes will be permitted until September 30.
Am I able to change my estimated finishing time before the event?
To change your estimated finish time, please click here. Changes to estimated finish times will be permitted until September 30.
How old must you be to participate in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon or 1/2 Marathon?
You must be 16 years of age (as of 10/17/21) to participate in the Marathon and 12 years of age to participate in the 1/2 Marathon. Due to insurance restrictions, there will be no exceptions to this policy, even with parental permission and/or a doctors’ note.
I'm hesitant to enter my credit card or bank account information online. Is there any way I can register with a check or mail-in form?
Unfortunately, we do not offer registration by phone or mail-in registration forms. We understand that some participants are more hesitant than others to enter their credit card information online; in those instances, we suggest that you buy a VISA gift card at any local retailer (Kroger, Giant Eagle, etc.) and use that card to complete registration. This way, you are not entering any personal banking information or accounts online, but you are still able to complete the transaction.
EXPO + PACKET PICK-UP
Can I pick up someone else's race packet at the expo?
We have been happy to provide this service to our participants in emergency situations and in recognition of the fact that certain personal and professional conflicts can make attending the Expo on either day a challenge. However, an audit of our event revealed increased abuse of this program.
Yes, we will continue to offer this service in 2021. Please note that there will be a limit of two (2) proxy forms per person, not including your own packet.
Online proxy forms are available HERE. You will need a copy of this form, plus a copy of a picture ID and vaccination card or negative COVID-19 test result for each person for whom you are picking up.
Wait, I need to bring that person’s ID or vaccination card?
No. You need only a COPY of the person’s ID and vaccination card/negative COVID-19 test results. We do accept electronic images on smart devices.
I love seeing the Patient Champions on the course each year! Will they be part of the 2021 race?
The Patient Champions selected for 2020 never got their chance to be part of the race due to our cancellation, and they are excited for their chance to join in the fun of race day!
Our plan is to have these youngsters on the course cheering on October 17, but this will be finalized as part of our work with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, local and state leaders and health officials on our safe return to an in-person event.
Will I be able to do fundraising as a Children’s Champion?
Yes. Helping Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a key part of our mission in putting on this race each year, and we plan to have the Children’s Champion program in place in 2021!
RACE DAY + COURSE
What are the course limits? Can I walk?
The course limit for our 1/2 Marathon is 4:00 (18:20 minute/mile pace). The course limit for our full marathon is 6:30 (14:53 minute/mile pace). Walking is encouraged and welcome! Many participants successfully complete our events each year by either walking or combining walking and running for a wonderful race day experience!
Can I run or walk with an iPod or other personal music device?
The short answer is yes. USA Track & Field Rule 144.3, which pertains to the use of headphones and other electronic devices, enables race directors to choose to allow the use of headphones by runners in non-championship races. The Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon will allow its participants to use an iPod or other personal listening device, but we ask that you keep the volume at a level that enables you to be alert to your surroundings in case there is an emergency. The only exception to this rule is elite athletes (any athlete competing for prize money) – they are not allowed to use iPods or personal listening devices of any kind.
Are you allowed to push a jogging stroller or wheelchair in any of the races?
No. You are not allowed to run or walk while pushing a jogging stroller or wheelchair. Additionally, bicyclists (with the exception of Marathon-sanctioned bicycle athlete escorts), in-line skaters, dogs, etc. are not allowed on the course – only registered participants are allowed on the race course during the event.
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Each year, thousands of athletes gather in Columbus for a day celebrating health and wellness, personal victories, record-breaking performances and of course, the children helped by Nationwide Children¹s Hospital. The 40th anniversary Columbus Marathon took place on Oct. 20, 2019.
Although these special moments cannot be quantified, there are many numbers that add up to a participant-focused, charity-driven, community-centered athletic event.
24 Miracle Mile Patient Champions who have shared their stories to inspire
3,000 volunteers making this marathon possible
15,000-plus athletes come from across the country and around the world.
Nearly 100 bands and entertainers add extra cheer
25-member marathon team and 11-member Board of Directors that have put in approximately 10,000 hours of planning
Approximately 60,000 people attend the Health & Fitness Expo
Approximately 100,000 spectators cheer on athletes on Race Day
250,000 White Castle cups of water to quench thirst
250,000 Cups of Lemon-Lime Gatorade (approximately 11,600 gallons of Gatorade) when water just doesn’t cut it
16,000 bananas, 30,000 bottles of water, 14,000 bags of salty snacks, 12,000 cartons of Chocolate Milk and more
600 portable bathrooms for relief
24,000 Clif Shot energy gels to refuel
96 portable generators to power the course
1 Angel Mile to honor, remember and celebrate the angels of Nationwide Children’s who have already finished their race
1 Encore Mile, for the patients who lined the 2012 - 2018 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon courses
20,000 feet of fencing (nearly 4 miles) along various parts of the course
201,600 watt sound system to rev up runners at the Start Line
26 Striding Slyders + New Albany Walking Club pace leaders
27 permits throughout five different police jurisdictions close down 26.2 miles of roads
Thousands of pounds of discarded clothes donated to Goodwill Columbus
The Road Beyond
Nationwide Children’s Hospital is honored to be the title beneficiary for the Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. 2021 marks the 10th year
of this partnership; so far more than $10 million has been raised for the Hospital. This includes more than $1 million contributed since 2012 by the Columbus Marathon Board of Directors.