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Columbus Marathon Returns Sunday with New COVID-19 Protocols

Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon 2016

After two years, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon returns on Sunday, featuring new pandemic safety measures.

Matthew Rand
Zubin Shah, NICU doctor at Nationwide Children's Hospital, prepares to run the Columbus Marathon.

All athletes, volunteers, event personnel, and vendors in so-called “active athlete areas” will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test before participating.

"We're not political about this. We're a large-scale event. We just want people to be safe and healthy," race director Darris Blackford said.

"The race itself is going to be virtually the same. We're outside, there won't be masks and things like that, and the course is going to be the same 26.2 miles they got to go. No shortcuts."

Boston-based runner Ian Marling is a survivor of both a brain tumor and a severe head injury he sustained as a child.

He is one of this year's Lashutka Spirit Award winners, which honors athletes who have inspired others to train for and participate in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon or Half Marathon.

Matthew Rand
Boston-based runner Ian Marling

Marling said he's pleased the marathon is back this year, a sign that the community and country are "coming back to health."

"It's an opportunity to say like, 'Hey, we can still do these things, and we can still persevere and thrive, and hopefully enjoy the miles along the way," Marling said.

Race registration continues at the Health & Fitness Expo 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 16.

The Expo is located in Hall D of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.


Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.