It’s hot, you’ve been running for two hours and your body begins to sense that all-too-familiar feeling that can only mean one thing: You need to find a restroom.

The problem is, the 5,000 other people who will be in Columbus on Saturday for the Mill Race Marathon are feeling the exact same thing.

Luckily for runners in Saturday’s races, Mill Race Marathon organizers say the portable restrooms along the course will be just as plentiful as the runners who need them.

“The rule of thumb is a 100:1 ratio, but we like to do more,” said Joel Sauer, marathon director.

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The math is simple: For every 100 runners registered for the weekend’s four events, one portable restroom needs to be available.

Factoring in all of the volunteers, organizers, fans and any other residents who might be milling around downtown during the weekend, Sauer said he estimates entertaining about 5,000 people, which would mean the marathon needs to provide restrooms.

In the downtown area alone, at least 70 portable restrooms will be available for public use, making it easy for runners and spectators alike to find one when needed.

“There’s never enough, but if we had 500 restrooms there would still be one or two complaints, so we felt comfortable that we had enough,” Sauer said.

Most of the restrooms for the Finish on Fourth after party will be located along Fifth Street, but visitors can also find them on Sixth Street, as well as in The Commons.

“(The Commons) counts as a bunch,” Sauer said.

Along the courses for the marathon and half-marathon — which follow the same route for 12 miles — Sauer said about 14 portable restrooms will be available for half marathon runners, while 28 will be available for full marathon runners.

In all, Sauer said the total number of restrooms his team has planned for should be more than enough to compensate for the weekend’s needs.

“The ratio is well above 100:1,” he said.

But in the hierarchy of human needs, the ability to use a restroom is only the most basic issue. Once a restroom is found, the next question will inevitably be, “Is it clean?”

At the Mill Race Marathon, Sauer said the answer will be yes.

“It’s not like a construction site where they’ve been sitting out for six months,” he said. “They’re clean when they’re brought out, they’re cleaned on the inside, so that’s generally not an issue.”

For runners or visitors who are more acutely aware of the potential for germs in portable restrooms, Sauer said hand-washing stations will be set up near the downtown restrooms for public use.

Handicapped-accessible portables will also be available for those who need them.

And while Sauer said there will always be people who find fault with the portable restrooms he sets up at the races, most runners are appreciative of his efforts to make them comfortable during their endeavor to complete a great physical challenge.

Based on his experiences with both the Mill Race Marathon and the Indianapolis Marathon and Half- Marathon, Sauer said he expects he will hear a few words of appreciation about restroom availability.

Restroom locations

Portable restrooms will be available at various locations throughout Columbus for the Mill Race Marathon. Half will be set up Thursday, while the other half will be set up Friday in time for the Kids’ Fun Run. Locations include:

Downtown Columbus

  • Majority of restrooms along Fifth Street
  • Some restrooms on Sixth Street (not west of parking garage entrances)
  • The Commons
  • Mill Race Park for Kids’ Fun Run
  • Handicapped restrooms on either side of Fifth Street
  • Hand washing stations on either side of Fifth Street

On the marathon, half marathon course, portable restrooms are available at water stops and medical tents.

Learn more

Visit to learn more about registration, road closures and other marathon information. Course maps with the location of water stops and medical tents are also available on the website.

Mill Race Marathon schedule


10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Health and Fitness Expo and packet pickup and registration at The Commons

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Kids Fun Run packet pickup and registration at The Commons

4:30 to 5:45 p.m.: Kids Fun Run packet pickup and registration at Mill Race Park

6 p.m.: Start of Kids Fun Run at Mill Race Park


5:30 to 6:30 a.m.: Packet pickup and registration at The Commons

6:45 a.m.: Gear check open at The Commons

7:10 a.m.: Opening ceremony

7:30 a.m.: Marathon and half-marathon begin

8:05 a.m.: Start of SIHO 5K

9:30 a.m.: SIHO 5K overall awards ceremony at Finish on Fourth stage

9:30 a.m.: SIHO 5K bicycle giveaway drawing for 5K finishers at Finish on Fourth stage — immediately following the SIHO 5K overall awards (must be present to win)

10 a.m.: Finish on Fourth After Party kicks off with live music

11:30 a.m.: Half-marathon and full marathon overall awards ceremony at Finish on Fourth Stage

2:18 p.m.: Marathon course officially closes

4 p.m.: Grand prize truck giveaway drawing at Finish on Fourth stage (must be present to win)

Weather watch

Today’s high is expected to hit 82, with temperatures of about 77 degrees for the 6 p.m. Kids Fun Run, according to the National Weather Service. A chance of showers are forecast for after 9 p.m., when festivities will have ended.

The early forecast for Saturday morning’s Mill Race Marathon calls for a 6 a.m. temperatures of about 60 degrees with a 45 percent chance of showers. That’s when runners will be arriving for the 7:30 a.m. race start.

Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at or 812-379-5712.