The Columbus marathon: An awesome experience

Pamela Crimbchin

Credit: DKS Editors

Reporter Pamela Crimbchin ran the Columbus Capital City Half Marathon Saturday with first year graduate student in speech pathology Caitlin Barney.

Eight a.m. was the start of the race for the runners in the front. The rest of us stood there, too close to move. It was a surreal experience when the cold wind met our faces as the crowd dispersed. Caitlin and I began our half-marathon five minutes after the whistle went off.

My sister Crystal and her friend Alison were slightly behind us. We passed my father and waved to the video camera as we rounded our first turn. That was the last time Caitlin and I would see Crystal and Alison until the end of the race.

The sound of 10,000 feet running together is almost hypnotic. People young, old, fat, thin, tall and short were running 13.1 miles together.

Caitlin and I spent the first three miles “people-watching” and sightseeing. Neither of us are from Ohio, and it was our first time looking at the beautiful city. Also, watching how each person ran and what they wore when they ran reminded us of how many different people there are in Ohio.

Around mile four we decided our plan: We would run until mile 6, then walk a quarter. We would continue our run until mile 10, then take a quick break before finishing strong. Throughout the race we would look back for Crystal and Alison, hoping they were close on our heels.

Six miles came sooner than we thought, and we were happy to walk and take a water break. I walked backward, hoping to see my sister’s green shorts, but she was not in sight.

Caitlin and I were going strong, high-fiving at every mile marker and checking our pace with the clock. Signs that said “Run like you just stole something!” or “Your feet only hurt from all the ass you’ve been kicking!” made us laugh along the way.

Nine miles is where we hit the dreaded “mental block” so many runners speak of. The muscle along my right front shin left like it was going to burst, and my breathing became irregular. The longest mile of my life finally ended when we took our second and final break. The walk and water gave us a new confidence.

With one last hopeful glance back to find my sister, we took off again.

Three miles were all we had left – we could totally make it. We ran at the fastest pace yet, and our speed increased with each mile.

Runners began walking past us with their medals and food. We were so close.

There was one mile left, and all we could think about were bananas, watermelon, water and swimming pools. Caitlin and I came up alongside a woman walking. Remembering stories about strangers helping others finish marathons, I looked at the woman and said: “Come on! Don’t walk now – you’re so close!”

She looked up, smiled and began running alongside us. “Thank you,” she said.

The three of us continued talking. “Only two more feet and then we can have food!” we said, even though we all knew we had a good half-mile left. We encouraged each other, pushing the speed faster and faster. The three of us hit the last straightaway before the turn to the finish line.

The woman smiled once more and said, “Thank you for letting me run the last part with you.”

“No problem! Sometimes all you need is that little push from someone else,” Caitlin and I said.

That would be the last time we would see her, as Caitlin began to sprint away from me. I chased her, jokingly yelling that I couldn’t push myself any harder.

Caitlin’s watch flashed 2:22 as we crossed the finish line. I knew 22 was my favorite number for a reason. We shared a very sweaty hug, grabbed water and food and went to find my parents.

After Crystal and Alison finished the half-marathon and we took photographs with our medals, we got in Crystal’s Jeep, ready for showers and naps.

During the drive, Crystal and I decided we liked the half-marathon so much that we’re going to sign up for the Columbus half-marathon in October. For that race, we hope to finish in less than two hours.

Contact sports reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].