2021 Columbus Marathon Recap

So I ran the Columbus Marathon this year. It was the first time I’d run it since 2007, so only a gap of 14 years! I strained my right Achilles tendon pretty badly after doing a half marathon right after the marathon in 2007, and didn’t have the knowledge of how to rehabilitate it successfully, so stopped running for quite some time. In 2017 I got inspired by watching a documentary about the Barkely Marathons, and started running again, only to be stymied by runner’s knee. The knee pain was really quite chronic, but after probably about two years of various physical therapy exercises, I was able to (mostly) banish it.

In 2019 I signed up for the half marathon, and was able to finish in 1:35 — not bad for a casual runner being out of training for quite a while. I had been planning to run the full marathon the next year, but COVID quashed that idea. I ended up deciding to train as normal, then run 26 miles on the day the marathon would have been, just for fun. I did that, and then also signed up for a timed “race” that used staggered starting times to avoid potential COVID exposure. I “bonked” during both those runs; the first was due to dehydration, and the second was also due to dehydration. Dispite that, I was able to improve my PR by a few minutes each time (3:40 for the first attempt, 3:31 for the second).

This year I had an advantage in that I ran a staffed race, so hydration stations were available throughout the course, without me having to carry my own water bottle. I made a point of slowing down to drink at each station, and always chose Gatorade in order to get extra calories/electrolytes. While the strategy wasn’t foolproof (I ran 0:30 slower than my target pace for the last 3 miles of the race), I was able to finish without walking, and got a new PR (3:18).

2021 Columbus Marathon route
An elevation map of the 2021 Columbus Marathon.

After the race, I wanted to write down my thoughts of how it went; hopefully in order to do better next time. Here, in no particular order, are some random observations about this year’s race: