This year, Columbus and Dresden, Germany are celebrating the 30th anniversary of becoming Sister Cities, a relationship featuring numerous cultural, educational, athletic and business exchanges—one of which has been the Marathon Exchange!
This will also be the 10-year mark when each city officially took part in the Marathon Exchange and sent representatives to take part in the other marathon and ½ marathon race.
In partnership with Dresden Sister City, Inc., we will participate in an athlete exchange again this year, and to honor the three decades of friendship, we have selected three runners to represent OUR race at the Oct. 30 Dresden Marathon & ½ Marathon!
Introducing OUR Dresden Marathon Ambassadors:
Valerie Kohlwey - Valerie left her home state of Utah to attend The Ohio State University. After returning to Utah to get a master’s degree, she came back to Columbus where she has lived for nine years and worked at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and at The Ohio State University. She set a goal to run a half marathon six years ago and since then has run several half marathons with friends as well as many of the Columbus area 5K, 4 mile, and quarter marathon races with her partner. Valerie loves to travel and is excited to experience Dresden in a unique way.
Ellen Onders - Ellen is a CPA and a CrossFit instructor. Growing up in a family of runners, she remembers coming to the Columbus Marathon each year to watch her mom race (and to eat Timbits with her sisters along the route). In 2014, she completed her first full marathon alongside her mom, and has run five full marathons since. She has also run countless half marathons all over the world, ran 21 miles on her 21st birthday, and even got engaged at the Cap City Half Marathon this year! Fitness and travel have always been important outlets for Ellen's mental and physical health, so she is excited for the opportunity to combine them both and represent Columbus in Dresden this fall.
Darren Spensiero - Darren is an architect and a wedding photographer with his wife, Susie. He is a member of the Columbus Italian Club and has family living in Germany, so he is looking forward to immersing himself in the cultural opportunities that this exchange provides. Darren completed the Columbus Marathon in 2013 and 2014 without training and learned his lesson. He started consistently running four years ago and has completed several half marathons and shorter races. Darren is excited to experience Dresden's renowned architectural scene in person, and the marathon is a great way to see as much as possible as quickly as possible!