By the time this post goes live, we’ll be just a few hours away from driving away from our home in Columbus and making our way back to RVA. I began this post by writing about how much this running community has meant to me, but it somehow felt just a bit too personal to share out into the world. Instead, I’m going to share some of the highlights and favorite things from running in Columbus.
This past weekend a few of my running friends met up with me for a short final group run on the OT. It made me so happy to get in one more run together. Words can’t describe how much this group means to me; at least not in a way I would share beyond to the group themselves. Without them, I may have never decided to run a marathon. At the least, I would have never run a marathon so soon after starting distance running. They have been a constant source of encouragement, advice, and real-talk.
One of my favorite memories of training with this group happened in my first season with them. Mark Remy from Runners World was in town (he’s from the area) and stopped by to run with us. He actually ended up running with our pace group and we were able to snag this photo with him outside of the shoe.
Columbus is where I decided to become a distance runner. After getting married, I made the decision to train for a half marathon. I may never forget finishing my first 6 mile training run around the neighborhood. What is such a common training distance for me now felt like such a big accomplishment that day. Prior to this, I had no interest in running a half marathon. The thought of running for 2ish hours was not appealing. When I finished, my mom asked if I would ever run a marathon. I told her no. However, training for my next half marathon, my coach Joe told me, “Run with us long enough and you’ll change your mind.”
And change my mind, I did. Two years after running my first half marathon, I decided to sign up for my first marathon. During this time I really fell in love with distance running. I spent hours running through downtown Columbus and on the trails. One thing I have yet to find at other smaller races is the crowd support that the city of Columbus provides. I have met so many people that come out to watch the marathon and have talked about how much they love to watch it. The crowd support in the first half of the Columbus marathon is pretty impressive in many spots. Having Nicole and Joe run my first marathon with me is something for which I will never be able to repay them. I don’t think they will ever truly know how much that meant to me. Running with them this past weekend, Joe told me that running the marathon with me was the highlight of his year. I am so lucky that I am able to share those memories with them.
One of my favorite running memories from living in Columbus was actually not a Columbus race at all. It was the inaugural Market to Market Relay Ohio from Cincinnati to Dayton. Running this race is where I met one of my now closest friends, Nicole. The one-day relay was long enough to be a great team bonding experience, but short enough that we didn’t get sick of each other. I had hoped to go back sometime and do this race again, but at the same time I know it would never compare to the experience I had with the Long Distance Relaytionships.
I think one of the things I will miss the most about Columbus is the huge variety of trails. Most long runs were done on the OT, but I really loved my Sunday Highbanks runs this summer and fall. I’m sure RVA has its great running spots, but Columbus has over 15 metro parks filled with trails and numerous paved greenway/multi-purpose trails. There are so many spots to run and explore and most of them are great for longer runs.
Leaving Columbus is bittersweet. It’s so hard to leave behind the running group that was such a huge part of the past couple of years of my running. At the same time, I’m excited to begin to work with my new group and see how that helps shape my running.
The 6Run4 will always be special to me and I will never take for granted how this city shaped me as a runner.