Spirit Award

Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon logo

The annual Lashutka Spirit Awards honor former Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka, who helped launch the Columbus Marathon in 1980.

“The Lashutka Spirit Award is a way for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon to recognize individuals who inspire and embody perseverance and strength. They are a testament to our sport and this event and it’s always an incredible privilege to celebrate them and their accomplishments.” – Darris Blackford, Race Director.


2021 Lashutka Spirit Award Winners


Emily Adams | Westlake, OH 

Emily's daughter, Morgan, was diagnosed with a Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) as a baby. Morgan had a nasogastric tube at around two years old due to a severe fear of eating that caused significant weight loss amidst efforts to feed her around the clock. Emily and her husband, Mark, reached out to the Comprehensive Pediatric Feeding Program at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Morgan immediately started the Intensive Feeding Program and was diagnosed with Pediatric Feeding Disorder.  Emily, whose family lives in Cleveland, brought Morgan to live in Columbus for three months to attend the Feeding Program five days a week, eight hours a day. Emily also has a very high-level job but was somehow able to juggle that and keep her baby's health the number one priority. Morgan had incredible success with the program and is now growing and gaining weight at 4 years old. Morgan is a Patient Champion in this year's race and Emily is rallying a team of friends and family to run and raise money through both the half and full marathon for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and its Comprehensive Pediatric Feeding Program. 



Steve Calhoun | Bexley, Ohio

Since 2013, Steve – though not a military veteran himself – has run the full marathon course in support of and to bring awareness to veterans’ charities.  At first, Steve joined four other friends to carry an Army stretcher loaded with a 150-pound bag of coffee beans. The five friends took turns sharing the load representing a fallen soldier. The year after, and every year since, Steve has taken on the charge solo, running with an Army bag loaded with 65 pounds of weight and gear all while holding an American flag and the flag representing the group Steve is raising money and awareness for that year. Steve is also a long-time volunteer with the marathon. Calhoun typically finishes the marathon in about 6 hours, and by the 2019 race, he had raised more than $9,000 for military-supported organizations such as Wounded Warriors Project, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Semper Fi Fund, and Mid-Ohio Marine Foundation. 


Kristen Cook | Columbus, OH 

Kristen, a nurse at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, will be running the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon on October 17, but getting to this point didn’t come without its challenges. No matter how hard the circumstances of her work in psychiatry, Kristen is a joy and a light to everyone around her. She has fought hard and continues to fight to overcome mental health struggles of her own and exudes that strength in all she does, especially running. She has come out of what she’s been through with joy, endurance, and strength. 


Sue Daly | Galena, OH

Sue Daly has been instrumental in the running community here in central Ohio.  With the exception of last year, Sue has volunteered annually with the Columbus Marathon to provide information, insight and motivation to runners at the Expo.  Sue was one of the initial founders of Run Against Breast Cancer, which became Race for the Cure, and organized The Zoo Run and Sprite Sprint.  Sue has been a member of Columbus Roadrunners for more than 40 years, serving as President for 15 years. In addition, Sue has also participated in the "Moms Run this Town" running club.  Sadly, Sue was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in September of 2019 and continues the battle today.  Since her diagnosis, Sue began a youth running club in the Big Walnut School District called the "Big Walnut Kids Run Club.”  The Club ran for eight weeks with approximately 40-50 youth runners. 


Okey Eneli | Dublin, OH

Okey has been running in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon since 2012.  Okey has been the Vice President of Engineering Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital since 2006, which included the charge of overseeing the largest campus expansion in Nationwide Children’s Hospital history. Okey is extremely dedicated to the hospital’s patients, families and staff, and according to his nominator, loves watching the patients and families forget why they are there because of the whimsical interiors, which brings him joy knowing he was a part of it. Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s facilities are model institutions for other pediatric hospitals and research centers around the world.  

Shawn Farrah | Marietta, OH

Shawn Farrah first ran the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon in 2013. While training for his second marathon in 2017, he was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer. After weeks of radiation treatments, countless brutal chemotherapy treatments and a colon resection, Shawn found out that the cancer had spread to his liver, making him Stage 4. Once again, he endured more harsh chemotherapy treatments and surgeries. In the Spring of 2019, he miraculously had no evidence of disease. While Shawn went through his cancer treatments, he didn’t have enough strength to run. But, as soon as his treatments were complete, and he got stronger, he started running again. In 2019, he completed the half marathon and this year he plans to run his second full marathon. Shawn has shown determination and persistence while maintaining a positive attitude through the many challenges that he has been through. Shawn has been an inspiration to his community while volunteering with his local youth running program and is an advocate for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. 

Matt Hare | Columbus, OH

Matt and his wife, Kate’s, world was turned upside down when their son, Callahan, was diagnosed with extremely rare infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) the day after he was born (April 14, 2021). The family quickly decided on an intense treatment regimen that would require Callahan to be inpatient for at least eight months, with the final step being a bone marrow transplant. Despite not having an opportunity to celebrate their son's birth, the family has worked rapidly to increase awareness and fundraising for research. Not only has the family created a fund for leukemia research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, but they have also established The Callahan Murphy Hare Foundation to further create a legacy of giving in support of research, collaboration and awareness. Though not traditionally a runner, out of support for his son, Matt signed up for the half marathon, training while trading off days and nights at the hospital with his wife Kate. After working hard, a last-minute injury has forced Matt to skip the race, but he remains committed to his cause and continues to serve is an inspiration. 

Michelle Hutchins | Pataskala, OH

Michelle started Miles for Wyatt in honor of her son.  As an infant, Wyatt was diagnosed with Lissencephaly (November 2020). That day, she decided she was going to run the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and raise money and awareness for infantile spasm, which are seizures Wyatt often faces because of his diagnosis.  In addition to individual contributions, Michelle will be selling Lissencephaly/Infantile Spasm awareness t-shirts titled “Miles for Wyatt.”  One hundred percent of the profits will be donated to the Neurology Department of Nationwide Children's Hospital in order to help fund research and awareness for Infantile Spasm. This is Michelle’s first time running the marathon. 

Ian Marling | Bedford, MA

Ian, who has run the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon several times, is currently a running coach and a mindfulness coach.  Ian grew up as an avid runner and cyclist and speed skater, even riding his first 200-mile weekend on a bike at the age of 11. Just months later, Ian underwent a series of brain surgeries at Boston Children’s Hospital to remove an aggressive cerebellar tumor. Following the surgeries, he faced a long road to recovery, as he was left having to regain the strength to walk across a room, let alone run or bike any significant distance.  At the age of 15, as he was finishing his first season of indoor track, Ian took a 25-foot fall resulting in a traumatic brain injury. This left him faced with what would be another long road to recovery and running, as he was forced to learn to walk once again. With the love and support of his family and his passion for running helping drive his recovery efforts, Ian has risen to greatness in running and cycling and is an endurance coach of athletes all over the world. Unsurprisingly, he takes brain health seriously too, and that's why he named his coaching company, "Insight Endurance," integrating mindfulness into the training he offers all the athletes he works with. 

Joyce Smith | Columbus, OH

Joyce has been a walking coach with Fleet Feet’s Marathoner in Training program for 15 years despite fighting through ten years of persistent health issues. From lung infections, depression, and weight gain, Joyce fought back through the pandemic and has rediscovered her best self. Through walking, healthy eating, and friendship, Joyce has taken her life back. After losing 120 pounds, she has met her weight loss goal and has found healthy, sustainable ways to keep depression at bay. In June, Joyce completed her first 5K in 10 years, and in August, she crossed the finish line of her first quarter marathon in 10 years. Along the way, Joyce has served as an inspiration to hundreds of central Ohio runners and walkers. Joyce is looking forward to volunteering at this year’s Columbus Marathon, with a goal of completing the half marathon in 2022.