Exciting News – This One’s For You, Mom!

This year, I will be running my third Nationwide Insurance Columbus Half Marathon with MIT, the Lucky 13’s and about 17,000 runners from my hometown and across the globe. For the fifth year in a row, the marathon and half marathon have sold out. Ladies and gentleman, if you haven’t made it to Columbus yet to run this race, what are you waiting for? Get ready to register for 2012 and make your plans now – after all, you already have a tour guide here!

Don’t miss it!

I like this race for several reasons and I will continue running it as long as I can. One of my favorite things about it is that is takes place in a big city, but has a hometown feel to it. And not just because it is my hometown. The streets of Columbus, jam-packed with a flood of runners on race day, are also lined with spectators through some of the most interesting neighborhoods and districts the city has to offer. I definitely do not get bored on this course because there is always something to see on a brilliant tour the best parts of Columbus including Downtown, Bexley, Olde Town East, German Village, Short North, Ohio State, Upper Arlington, Grandview Heights, Victorian Village and the Arena District. The course is flat (not to mention fast!) and offers a chance for many runners obtain a PR.

I also like the Columbus Marathon because I don’t feel like I need to be a professional athlete to run it. I feel welcome by the race directors, volunteers and course support stuff, not to mention the entire city. I feel like whether you are the winner of the whole race or the last person to cross the finish line, you are important.

The Columbus Marathon team does a fantastic job of recognizing individuals who are running the race that are not your “typical” athlete, but have overcome sometimes devastating obstacles to be able to participate. Every year, the Nationwide Columbus Marathon recognizes these race participants by presenting them with the Spirit Award.

Per the marathon website, “The Spirit Award honors those people who have not only taken on the challenge of completing a marathon or 1/2 marathon, but who have overcome considerable obstacles while doing so. Throughout the years the marathon has witnessed runners and walkers who train while overcoming major illness or who use the marathon as part of a lifestyle change to accomplish significant weight loss, among other odds.”

Much to my surprise, I was nominated and selected for the Spirit Award by a running friend that I met through Daily Mile not too long ago – Dave.  He said he was touched by my story and what my mother’s passing and suggested that the race directors check out this blog. Dave was given the opportunity to share the news with me first and I couldn’t believe it when he called me – I was completely ecstatic!  I’ve had to keep quiet ever since last week! 🙂

Me & Dave at the Emerald City Quarter in September.

I am completely honored and humbled to be recognized along with nine other Spirit Award recipients who are running in the Columbus Marathon or Half Marathon on October 16th.

Not only am I touched to receive this award, but by the kindness and thoughtfulness Dave has extended to me and my family. You see, I barely knew Dave at all. We communicated mostly via Daily Mile and Twitter, offering support and encouragement to one another as fellow runners. I have only met him once, even though we live in the same area and attend a lot of the same races. Dave is running Columbus – his first full! – and has been battling injuries this training season, which I can relate to. This is exactly why I have come to love and treasure the relationships I have formed in the running community. Dave could have easily nominated himself given his circumstances or any other runner he knows, but he chose me because he wanted more people to know about mine and my mother’s story. For that, I am very grateful to you, Dave and the Columbus Marathon.

Dave said something to me on the phone, when he announced my nomination, that has stuck with me ever since. We were talking about my mother and how much she loved to run and how running brought us closer together as a family. Dave knows I have been struggling with running – and with life in general – these past few months, but has always offered a kind or encouraging word to me, despite his own struggle. Sometimes, it hurts to run because I think about my mother and how much I miss her. I told Dave that she passed away completely happy, doing what she loved – running. Dave said, “You will always have that. No one can take that away from you. Every time you’re running, it is just you and your mom out there together, and you will always have that time with her.” I was in tears, literally, but was trying to keep it together on the phone! It wasn’t until later I realized, Dave is right.

My mother and I will always have running. It brings people together, and she will forever be a part of me, both as a person and as a runner. This one’s for you, Mom.

Until the next mile marker,



  1. runningperseverance says

    ahhhhh! friend! this had me in tears! you are incredible deserving and i am so beyond happy for you that you received this award! enjoy the race!

  2. Jenny Wittich says

    What an awesome award! I saw you won on the email blast the marathon sent out yesterday and was so excited for you! Hope to run into you on race day next Sunday.

  3. Congrats again!!

  4. Laurie Bilovesky says

    So excited for you! Well deserved. Dave sounds like a smart man! He is so rate! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  5. Sara, how like you to be giving credit to someone else! Dave is a smart man, and you are such a great friend.. I know you are going to have a wonderful time at this race.

  6. RunningMandy says

    Congratulations Sara!!! I can’t wait to cheer you from the sidelines next weekend!

  7. Stephanie Grigely says

    Congrats on the award! What a great way to honor your accomplishment & the memory of your mom. Have a blast at the race!

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