To kick things off, we asked our Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon veterans to share one piece of advice they had for someone running their race …
For some veteran runners, it’s all about how you start. According to John A. Hykes, “Relax and run YOUR race. You’ll get to the start line, be excited by everything going on around you, and your natural urge will be to sprint across the start line. Unless you trained that way (and I’ll bet you didn’t), DON’T DO IT!” Jeff Powell added: “The front half of the Columbus full is electric; the start, the fans, the bands. Keep the adrenaline checked and stick with your plan!” And one more start line tip from Holly Mowery: “Hydrate and no matter how nervous you are, go to the restroom before getting in your corral. Also keep your legs active waiting to start. The chilly morning and long wait causes stiff legs quickly and as always START SLOW and enjoy the experience!”
For others, like David Clawson, it’s what you do before starting that’s most important: “Don’t change anything on race day. Show up to the start rested, hydrated and carbo-load successfully (which means eating on Friday night for a Sunday race morning). There are a lot of things you can control for, so with those things in control you’re ready to tackle the uncontrollable.”
Some runners also offered tips on taking in the race day excitement: “My advice is to run without an iPod. There are so many bands and so much crowd support, earbuds are just a distraction. Run, listen to your feet pounding the pavement, give high-fives along the way, stop and dance in front of the bands, read the signs the crowd will be holding. Breathe. Run alongside others who will be struggling and help motivate them along. Enjoy the journey of 26.2 miles and enjoy and savor in all the support that will be there, cheering YOU on!” said Susanne Kokoska.
Of course, be sure to finish strong too! As David Parsons says, “Stay relaxed and comfortable for the first 20 miles and then push with all you have the final 10K.” “Marathoners: Enjoy the first 13 with all of the runners, then race to the Horseshoe where you’ll refuel on motivation to make it back to the finish line! In other words, break up the race into several smaller races of things you’ll look forward to,” added Chad Wiggins. And one more tip from Melissa Waldorf Holden: “Have your “fans” space themselves out during the last half … It gets tough and it helps SO much to see more faces and people toward the end.”
Last but not least, don’t forget what you’re running for: “Be sure to enjoy every one of the Children’s Champions kids. Watching each of those beautiful kiddos get loaded into their cars to go out to their spots on the racecourse left me with a lump in my throat and a grateful heart,” said Amy Thornton Jones.