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2018 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Recap!

CRC Elites had a fantastic performance this year!
Check out the recap from some of our members.
(Click Here for results)


IMG_0196.JPGJessica Hoover

I would say I was more excited than nervous! My build up was far from perfect, with plenty of unexpected days off, but I learned to trust the training and realize that no one steps on the starting line 100%, and that’s just part of the beast of the marathon, you have to ride the line to achieve your goals. I had so much fun, and was lucky to have a few other women around me the entire way. The last 6 (as everyone warns) hurt more than anything I’ve ever experienced, but I found that positive thinking and many cheers from friends got me through. When I realized I would be off of the OTQ by a couple minutes, I switched my focus to staying strong and running hard all the way through the finish. I’m walking away very proud of my effort – I didn’t let up and I certainly didn’t have anything left!


IMG_2853Elwood Ellis

Training and running a perfect marathon is nearly impossible. Something will go wrong, whether it’s getting injured in training, forgetting something on race day or just hitting a rough patch during the race. I was planning on starting with Christina as she is a rockstar machine. TNT ends, the gun fires and we are off. My shoe came untied as we reached the bottom of the hill. Crap. I frantically I tied it and sure enough it came untied a few minutes later.  I stopped my watch or lapped it, I don’t know. It was screwed up. With Christina long gone and me off my pace, I was freaking out. I sucked it up and just tried to make up the pace. By mile 6, I was back on track but a little worried I would pay for it later. After the half, I was by myself. Since my watch was screwy and math is hard when you’re running, I heeded advice from teammate Pat – forget your GPS and focus on racing. I saw a few runners ahead and just tried to pick them off one by one. That way, I most likely wouldn’t be slowing down. The pain was tolerable until 23 when it felt like both legs could seize up with a misstep. Seeing teammates, friends/training partners who braved the cold to bike and run around to cheer us on really helped get me through it, especially in those last few miles. Finished with a 10 minute PR in 2:38 for 16th place overall. A shout out to the Columbus running community as well. Many runners (spectating) from competing teams and stores personally cheered for me.


Brook Benner

I had a blast running the half at the Columbus marathon on Sunday. I love the feeling of running the hometown race with so many friends and the community support never disappoints. Running to a new PR was the cherry on top!


phoca_thumb_l_IMG_0732Josh Ordway

I’ve been battling injuries, aging, and balancing family and work with running for the past few years, so I haven’t been able to compete at a high level for a long time. Last fall I had the crazy idea to get back to my magical high mileage training style for 1 more cycle this past summer to see if I still had “it” in me because it’s not fair to my family to be away from them for 3 hours per day while running if I’m not going to be competing at a high level. I was able to get in the mileage I needed, getting up to 140/week a few times, but the workouts were lacking. This had been an unusually oppressively hot and humid summer, which caused me to bail on numerous longer workouts.

During the last week of September, just when I was planning some key workouts to give me the fitness and confidence to go after it at Columbus, I developed a sore shin muscle. I ran on it for a few days, but the pain persisted. I ended up having to take 10 or so days off to heal it, so not only did I miss out on gaining fitness during that key time, but I ended up losing some fitness. I was really frustrated at the timing of the injury because I didn’t think I’d have any hope of racing at Columbus, which would’ve “wasted” all the hours of training I put in over the summer away from my family. I decided to try to salvage something this racing season, so I did a few short test workouts without pain and raced at Minster which was my first week back from the injury. I felt strong in the hot and humid conditions, placing 8th. I then contacted Indy Monumental to try to get an elite entry, hoping that I could salvage some fitness in those 3 extra weeks, but I hadn’t run any fast times in the past 1.5 years, and the elite coordinator denied my entry despite my past successes.

Putting a great deal of weight on the Minster performance, I opted to give Columbus a try after all, especially since I couldn’t mentally handle pushing my marathon back into December or later. I got a hold of some half tights, arm sleeves, and compression socks (items I’ve never trained or raced in before) to hold this old body together and toed the line, giving myself a 50% chance of dropping out. I started off conservatively and felt strong, so I tried to latch onto a couple of different groups during the early stages of the race to pull me along. Alas, I couldn’t find a group that was running a comfortably fast pace, so per my usual, I ended up running alone from about mile 8 on. My brother, sister, and wife were on the course to alert me of my second place position, which was a good thing because that turn off to the half finish is an extremely tempting easy way out. Once I passed that point, it got real, as the 2nd place lead biker started following me from behind, verifying that my family members were correct about my place. Around 17.5 miles, my right hamstring started trying to cramp up, so I had to slow my pace by 10-15 seconds/mile to keep it stable. A couple miles and a Gatorade later, the spasms were mostly gone and only a tolerable soreness remained.

I tried to reel in the lead runner as best I could, but I was mostly trying to hold off the 3rd place runner, wondering when the fumes I was running on would be gone. Once I crossed the finish line, I was extremely pleased that I was able to place second overall but still wondered what could have been had I not been forced to take time off from injury. At the very least, I learned that a running base is a powerful thing, and that I still have “it.” Now I can sit back, heal my hobbled body, and ponder my next marathon adventure.


IMG_2333Ken Varian

Marathon # 20 is in the books. Very happy with how this went. It was a struggle bouncing back from the hamstring strain that caused me to drop out of the Indianapolis Marathon last year. I was pleasantly surprised to only be 50 seconds from my marathon PR as I did not think I would be nearly that close. The chilly weather was fantastic and the well organized Columbus Marathon is always so much fun. I maybe got a little too pumped up to Thunderstruck right before the start as I ran that first half a bit too fast. I am honored to be given the opportunity to run for the CRC Elite team as part of their Master’s team. I was also glad to get to run alongside some of my former Rogue Racers teammates and other friends.


Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 9.41.28 AMJack Schlabig

I ran the Cbus Half Marathon in 1:09:19 and finished 8th last Sunday. Overall this was a pretty good day for me, I would give this a B+ overall.

Pros: I was injured in July going into August and was not sure what kind of shape I would be in for this race. I was only 10 seconds off my PR which I’ll take as a win. I had a good time with my teammates and everyone cheering on the course was great. I have never been good at running in the cold so today was a step forward. This was a good fitness check and I can build on it.

Cons: I was too aggressive from miles 2-6 which I think cost me in the end. I was running with another guy and if I had not pushed the pace I might have been able to beat him. I don’t think I was as mentally strong in miles 9-12 and I need to be better next time.


phoca_thumb_l_IMG_0743Brad Miller

After finishing my NCAA eligibility in the spring, I was fortunate enough to have CRC elite allow me to join the team as I hit the roads for some post season racing. After taking some much needed down time during June as I finished up my MBA and travelled to Europe, my main goal was to get rested and refocused to get back into training and run sub 2:30 at the Columbus marathon. The plan was to get back to my high mileage from college, get in some consistent workouts, and start racing again as I finished up one last degree in Athens. Then, well, some injuries happened, school got much busier than expected, and I toed the line not having raced since the Columbus 10k and averaging about 40 miles a week. Only a month out I had a stress fracture scare and thought for sure that my hopes of even running the marathon were going out the window. With training having gone so poorly, I started the race with no expectations at all.

At the start, I teamed up with Michael Owen, a local Athens runner that just won a 100 mile race two weeks before the race, to go out in 6:10 for the first 2 miles. After relaxing, getting into a groove, and finding a group, the pace started to get faster and faster. Going through mile 9, I split a 5:46 and decided to keep rolling with it but honestly thought I was a ticking time bomb. The group hit the half at 1:17:59 working well together. After a quick stop in the porta-potty I caught back up at around mile 15 then at that point I just maintained pace and next thing I new I was completely by myself in no mans land. As terrifying as it was, I felt incredible and as I enjoyed the feeling and waited for the wall to hit, it never hit. The last 2 miles my legs certainly did not feel great, but I still maintained and crossed the line pretty shocked in 2:36:48.

Overall, this experience has me hungry and re-motivated to see what I can really do at these longer distances. After a few days off to recover, I’m starting up training again and will focus on building up consistently to the 80+ mile a week area, get back to racing in the spring, and decide which marathon to do next. I’m excited to get back into it and see where this whole marathon thing takes me and thankful to have the CRC elite team as a support network.


IMG_2587Minori Minagawa

After two years of cheering for the CRC Elite team on the sideline due to injuries, I was so happy that I got to race and experience Columbus Half Marathon for the first time. 3 weeks prior to Columbus I did a 10miler tune up race, which I was hoping I would do well to help boost my confidence. I ended up getting a fever the night before that race, but I still decided to give the 10miler a try. I felt absolutely terrible and actually had to stop and walk for a bit during the race. I finished the race, but I ended up having to take extra days off to recover from that.

My original goal for the Columbus 1/2 Marathon was to PR, but my legs felt like absolute trash for the longest time after the 10miler. Workouts were not going well and I had issues with my adductor and plantar the last couple of weeks. Because my training took a bit of a downhill, I honestly wasn’t sure what my plan was going into the race. Two nights before Columbus, I called my coach, Christina and we talked through my race plan. She was super encouraging and it helped me take into perspective of the bigger goal I had.

Race morning, I was super excited to just be out racing with my teammates. The morning was a bit chilly, but during the race it was actually perfect weather. I absolutely loved the start line with the fireworks and loud music! During the race I tried not to look at my watch, because I really just wanted to go by how I feel. I loved the energy of everyone out there cheering and it was so fun giving high-fives to the kids. I actually felt pretty good for the most part, but the gradual hill at mile 11 was tough. Going down the last stretch I looked up at the clock and I was surprised to see that I was going to PR. Overall, I was happy with my race and I’m excited to continue to train and make more progress!


Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 7.01.46 AMSarah Biehl

Going into Columbus I had a lot of mixed emotions about the race and how I was feeling. My piriformis has given me trouble off and on over the past 6 months and I was definitely feeling it a few weeks leading up to the race. Although, some days I would feel great, making me very excited for Sunday to finally be here. The morning of the race I just tried to focus on the good days I’ve had and all of the training and work I had put in up to this point.

Around mile 6 of the race I felt my piriformis tighten up and immediately I panicked. Trying to push the negative thoughts out of my head, I kept pushing on only trying to focus on the main goal, Olympic trials qualifying time. Luckily, at that point of the race I was with Christina (my coach AND the Marathon champ.) She helped me stay positive and pushed me through part of the race. Throughout the remainder of the race I had my ups and downs, feeling defeated at one moment and on top of the world the next. I tried explaining to my family how I progressively felt throughout and the best way to describe it was; when I saw my friends at mile 8 I was smiling and waving so excited and feeling great. When I saw them again at mile 24, I cried not just tears but whimpering from pain. With about a mile to go I looked at the overall time, did a little math in my head (probably not accurate) and thought to myself “shit I have to GO”. It wasn’t until I could see the finish line clock that I knew for sure I was going to do it. As soon as I crossed the line so many emotions hit me and I broke down in tears. Such a satisfying and relieving moment. Sunday couldn’t have been possible without amazing coaches (past and present), awesome and super fast teammates and friends, and all of my family and friends that came to watch or tracked my progress throughout the morning. I’m excited to rest up and get back to training soon!


Joe Guerra

The Columbus Half Marathon was a great experience for me this year. I was able to run a consistent race and came out with a personal best time. Getting the chance to warm up and compete with the elite field was definitely an advantage. I was able to warm up and stretch with my CRC friends and then race with a group that was running my goal pace. Keeping warm in the VIP tent beforehand was definitely a big help in staying warmed up.

My training going into the race was pretty solid, but I was a little disappointed in how some of my longer workouts turned out. I think the summer heat took a toll on me the past few months. It was nice to finally race in more “fall like” conditions. Race day morning temperatures were a little cool, but there was no rain and very little wind. I was just hoping the miles and work I put in this summer would be enough to help me race well.

Racing a half marathon or really anything farther than a 5k always feels like quite the stretch for me. I was a bit nervous with how things would turn out. I think I learned a little more about myself and how my body responds during longer races. I’m looking forward to racing another half marathon in the future. Hopefully I’ll get to race the Columbus half marathon next year!


Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 6.59.33 AMLaura Kaulen

I raced three half marathons this year and based on my finishing time, my best full time would be 3 hours.  I woke up Sunday feeling like a million bucks.  I decided to attempt 6:30 pace.  However, the energy downtown was electrifying.  I used the energy from the crowd and the other runners to propel myself.  I was able to average 6:25 pace for the first 14 miles.  The last 12 miles I held on and continued to push hard. I high-fived each of the patient champions along the course.  They inspired me to run hard and to finish strong.


Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 7.02.45 AMChristina Murphy

Going into the marathon on Sunday I had several goals. I had spent the bulk of the training cycle aiming towards attaining the Olympic trials standard and was hoping I was prepared to do that, as well as get a time in the 2:40 range.

Starting off that morning it was undeniably cold and that worked in our favor, as the last two years had been warmer. I began with a few teammates and tried to maintain a conservative pace. As our pace started to drop at mile 3 I made the decision to fall off the back of the small pack we were in and luckily Sarah came back with me. We ran together with Anne and kept a conversational pace.

Around mile 10 I began to pull ahead of our small pack. It felt comfortable to go a bit faster so I went on my own and turned into High. It’s always exciting as you run up High and approach Broad where the crowd thickens so I tried to soak it in without letting my adrenaline get me in trouble.

Running through campus was a bit quieter and I started to feel tight but didn’t have much trouble maintaining pace. My mile from Woody Hayes to Kenny and up Lane was by far my slowest. I actually felt cold! Once I got into Upper Arlington I felt a lot better and hearing that Anne was about a minute back I dropped my pace through Grandview. At mile 23 I heard my bike escort radio in that we had passed 23 and would be to the finish in less than 20 minutes. I needed that reminder and did my best to dig a little deeper and reel a couple of people in. At mile 25 I had a side stitch set in but I knew adrenaline would carry me through at that point so I just relaxed and let myself get excited.

Through the final stretch down to the finish line I felt really emotional. One of my go to thoughts for motivation during my harder training runs goes back to my first win at Columbus 5 years ago. Feeling, hearing and seeing the crowds on the side of the course and knowing that the work all paid off and you’ve achieved the goal you set out for is an incomparable feeling. To relive that moment was a dream!

At the finish I saw Darris and Star and immediately started crying. I watched the next couple of girls come in and then looked for my husband and daughters. When I saw Sarah and found out that she had got the standard too and that Jess was only two minutes away I felt so proud of them and the work they put into the race. Coaching Sarah, Jess and Minori (who had an amazing PR despite some injury setbacks) made the experience even more enjoyable. All of the CRC team and other local runners performed so well, it was definitely a celebratory day.


Laura Wetz

As I walked to the start of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, my mind was cluttered with many thoughts and emotions. I was so excited to see all of my teammates who I knew were ready for some amazing performances that day. But, I was also nervous and doubtful for my own race that day. My buildup was inconsistent this season because of a nagging injury in my left foot. Despite the setbacks, I still held onto a tiny flicker of hope that maybe on race day, everything would just be fine and I could still reach my goal for the Full Marathon. The gun and explosive fireworks went off and I held on tightly to that hope, but as each mile passed, the glimmer began to fade as my foot began to ache and the pace began to slow. I knew that I had to make the hard decision to turn left onto Long Street and finish the half instead of the full. It has taken me several days to reflect and overcome the disappointment of not reaching my goal. But, I have accepted that I made the right decision and I have no regrets of at least trying. It just wasn’t my day or season. There will be more races and buildups in my future and I know that I just have to keep on trying and maybe one day my day will come to shine. In the meantime, I am thrilled for the outstanding performances by all of my teammates. I feel honored and privileged to be a part of such an amazing, talented, and supportive team that continues to inspire me.

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