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The first runners and walkers stood in a line about 100 deep outside The Commons on Thursday, waiting for the doors to open for the Health and Fitness Expo.
Inside, lines moved quickly as participants gathered information packets, including T-shirts and parking passes, in preparation for Saturday’s inaugural race through the streets of Columbus.
Before Thursday, about 4,100 had registered for the marathon, half-marathon and 5K races. Within the first hour of the expo, about 100 more registered.
“A little while ago, the line was all the way back there,” volunteer Magna Gamez said, gesturing to an area along the aisle on the second floor.
Gamez, 52, of Columbus, and a member of the Columbus Running Club, will be running in the marathon.
New registrations will continue from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the expo in The Commons.
Doneda Henry worked with volunteers in a long row on a back wall of the second floor, where bib numbers were filed in numerical order. In case runners did not bring their numbers, binders listing runners by name contained the needed information.
“It’s all really organized and going really fast,” Henry said. “(Organizers) seem to have all the bases covered.”
After receiving bib numbers, runners stopped by a table to collect parking passes from volunteers Lupita Trujillo and Luz Elena Michel. The women said the runners often took only one, saying they would be carpooling with families and friends to the race.
After a stop at a check station to make sure the electronic chip in the bib was working correctly, runners were ready to take a more leisurely stroll around the expo.
Derek Whitehead, a physical therapist and athletic trainer for Columbus Regional Health, manned a booth where runners could be videotaped on a treadmill. The information would be analyzed to determine any issues that could cause injuries, stress or pain.
“Runners are very in tune with their bodies, and this can help them even more,” Whitehead said, explaining that the video can be slowed down to do an even more detailed analysis.
Expo participants also could buy supplies, such as running shoes, T-shirts, jackets, compression leg sleeves, energy gel packs, water bottles and sunglasses.
Shanon Clulow, 41, of Columbus, stopped by the expo to pick up her information packet and ones for three of her friends who were arriving this weekend from out of town.
“I think (the expo) is great. There’s cool gear, and it’s been well-publicized,” said Clulow, who has a family connection with Cummins Inc., one of the main sponsors.
“My dad was a tool maker for Cummins, and my husband works at the MidRange Engine Plant,” she said.
The expo, whose main sponsor is Columbus Regional Health, also included places for visitors to buy marathon souvenirs, including a signed copy of the limited-edition race poster designed Columbus North High School student Andy Carr.
Nancy Morris, 62, of Columbus, said she was inspired by seeing so many people in the city, of all ages, focused on improving their fitness level.
“People are getting healthy and staying fit,” said Morris, who is running her eighth marathon. “It shows the Healthy Communities (initiative) is really making a difference here.”
Morris will run Saturday with her daughter, Libby Morris, 27, of Chicago, and her son, Trevor Morris of Milwaukee.
The weekend is a family affair for many, including Shelli Carothers, who will run the half-marathon. Her children will run in today’s Kids Fun Run. Riley, 8; Hayden, 7; Levi, 4; and Andi, 4, all will participate in the children’s event that will include a mini version of Saturday’s race as the youngsters run in age divisions through the park and take home a medal attached to a ribbon to wear around their necks.
At the expo, the Carothers family stopped by a booth where they decorated signs with markers and glitter and phrases such as “Go, mommy, I love you!” that they will hold up Saturday.
Beth Morris, director of community health partnerships for Columbus Regional Health, said that more than 700 children have signed up for the Kids Fun Run, which will include the national anthem sung by the barbershop quartet Ready 4 Anything.
The run also will have one special guest who will run at least for a portion of the course: Miles the dog from Hotel Indigo in downtown Columbus.
HEALTH EXPO: Continues from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at The Commons. Activities, vendors, information, speakers and packet pickup for Mill Race Marathon and Kids Fun Run participants.
COMMONS PLAYGROUND: Open throughout the weekend. Use doors on Third Street and the Washington Street doors closest to Third Street.
WEATHER: Saturday temperatures are forecast to be about 52 degrees with sunny skies and low humidity at 8 a.m. for the start of the marathon and half-marathon, according to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. The temperature should climb to 75 degrees by noon and drop to the upper 60s by 10 p.m. Rain has a 40 percent chance early Sunday morning, arriving about 2 a.m.
ENTERTAINMENT: Begins at 4 p.m. today downtown along the Fourth Street entertainment district with Carb Day menus at restaurants, live music, a zip line, beer garden and craft and food vendors.
KIDS FUN RUN: Warmups begin at 5:50 p.m. today for the 6 p.m. run at Mill Race Park, where children ages 4 to 12 will run between a half-kilometer to 1.5 kilometers, depending on their age. Registrations continue through 3 p.m. at the expo and from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at the park amphitheater.
PARKING: No special parking arrangements have been made for today, but Saturday the downtown garages and many of the parking lots near the city center will be reserved for race participants, workers and volunteers until 10 a.m., when restrictions will be lifted.
Free shuttle: Spectators can take free shuttle buses that will run about every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Satellite parking lots are at:
HAVE QUESTIONS? Either about the marathon or the city, stop by the expo booth staffed by the Columbus Area Visitors Center on the second floor. The booth will move to the first floor or outside The Commons on Saturday.
Schedule of events
11 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Health and Fitness Expo at The Commons, including packet pickup for runners.
4 to 10 p.m.: Entertainment, including zip line, live music and food on Fourth Street between Jackson and Franklin streets.
6 p.m.: Kids Fun Run at Mill Race Park.
6:30 to 7:45 a.m.: Final registration and packet pickup at The Commons.
7:25 to 7:45 a.m.: Opening ceremony and final instructions near the start line on Brown Street between Fifth and Eighth streets.
8 a.m.: Start of the full and
9 a.m.: Start of the 5K.
9 a.m.: Downtown restaurants serving breakfast items in the Washington and Fourth street areas.
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Party on the Green on Jackson Street by Cummins Corporate Office Building to include live music.
10 a.m.: Awards ceremony for top marathon, half-marathon and 5K finishers near Fifth and Jackson.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Finish on Fourth After Party downtown.
12:30 p.m.: Awards for age race division winners.
3 p.m.: Drawing for the Ram truck to one marathon or half-marathon winner in front of The Commons. Must be present to win.
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