Early entries for the upcoming 2023 Mill Race Marathon are running at the highest level since the event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers released registration details showing that through Wednesday, 2,209 runners had registered for one of the three races that will take place on Saturday, Sept. 23. That outpaces entries at the same point last year by 10%.
Likewise, registrations for each event were higher than in 2022.
The largest increase was among entrants for the 5K Run/Walk. A total of 931 people registered for the 5K compared with 778 who had signed up by the same time last year. That represents an increase in participation of almost 20%.
The most popular event remains the half-marathon. As of Wednesday, 1,068 people had signed up for the 13.1-mile trek. That’s greater that the 1,027 registrants at this time last year, but a bit off the pace of the 1,116 participants in 2021. That year, the 26.2-mile marathon was canceled as the event resumed partially during the reopening from COVID.
Also, 210 runners have signed up for the full marathon as of Wednesday, a few more than the 204 who had registered by the same time last year.
While the numbers are trending upward, they still have a way to go to catch up with pre-COVID numbers, when total entries at this point hovered just below 2,800 runners from 2017 to 2019.
Including the Kids Fun Run that takes place on Friday evening before the Mill Race Marathon events, organizers expect about 5,000 participants this year.
Registration is still open for the marathon, half-marathon and 5K events. Through Sept. 21, entry fees are $100 for the marathon, $85 for the half-marathon and $35 for the 5K.
Registration for all events also will be available at the Mill Race Marathon Expo on Friday, Sept. 22, at The Commons. Entry fees for the marathon and half-marathon will increase to $115 and $100 respectively on that day.
The 2023 event will be the 11th running of the Mill Race Marathon, and organizers say they hope this year’s event raises $40,000 to benefit the Columbus Park Foundation and Healthy Communities. Since its inception, the marathon has donated more than $720,000 to charities promoting healthy lifestyles in Columbus.
Planners earlier this year said course changes for the 2023 race will mean fewer run-ins with traffic for race participants and fewer disruptions for motorists or those who live along the race course routes.
“The main change is we’re going to utilize the People Trail a lot more,” for the full marathon, event coordinator Joel Sauer said earlier this year. “… Get runners on the People Trail earlier and the other thing that’s pretty cool is we’re going to take the marathon course back through Mill Race Park.”