For more than a decade, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon has honored a group of people annually who have inspired others by their efforts to overcome obstacles or challenges to take part in our race or represented the event in a positive way.
While Spirit Award Winners were officially announced a few weeks ago, we wanted to continue to recognize these tremendous people for the impacts they have on their communities and OUR race. We asked each of the winners some fun questions and found out some of their favorites so keep reading to get to know them a little better!
Leslie Jordan, Westerville, OH – Leslie Jordan is no stranger to the Columbus Marathon, having run the full or half marathon 10 of the past 12 years – not including when she and her son ran their own 26.2 and donated to Nationwide Children's Hospital in 2020. She is a volunteer for Freedom a la Cart, a group that helps victims of human trafficking get back on their feet, and for Team Heart & Soul, a group that shares her love of running with kids and young adults with disabilities. Leslie serves as an incredible support system wherever she goes.
Fun facts about Leslie:
Dream Trip: Leslie and her son are very close, and their next trip together will be to the 2028 LA Summer Olympics!
Favorite Race Day Snack: The orange slices that a Grandview resident slices up every year during the race.
Josh Owens, Cincinnati, OH – Josh was 28 when he was diagnosed with heart failure, and he was not expected to make it to age 30. A father of five children, he could not perform basic tasks independently. With lots of support from his wife and family, he relearned how to do simple tasks like walking. Though he was never an athlete before his diagnosis, he made a goal to complete a 5K. He was instantly hooked on running after completing that first race and has since become an avid runner and an incredible encourager, coach, and mentor to countless people. Josh changed his own life, and his own journey is changing countless others.
Fun facts about Josh:
Favorite Animal: An octopus because they “are super smart, can change colors, have dreams and are overall just amazing animals!”
How he stays motivated during training: Josh’s friends, training partners and running buddies are what helps him stay motivated during training. He said, “they make it fun, keep me going and are a blessing to be around”. He also says that he likes to focus on helping them reach their goals because helping them succeed is so rewarding and motivates him to work harder himself.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned all week to learn more about the rest of the 2022 Spirit Award Winners!