Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ohio State 4 Miler Race Report

I finally got to run the Ohio State 4 Miler. I'm in Columbus a few times a year to visit friends and family, but had never made it there the weekend of this newer race. This year Nikki said she'd run it with me, so I added it to my calendar. As a second-generation Ohio State Buckeye, I had to do it.
Awesome medal (the football is a small foam one that I had at home and used just for the photo)

Nikki and I met for brunch on Saturday and then went to the race expo. It wasn't really an expo since there were no vendors. It was just a packet pick-up. I liked the short-sleeved race shirt but was disappointed that the date was not on it. And in previous years, they had long-sleeve shirts, but no biggie.

On Sunday morning we met early to drive together to the parking lots at St. John Arena. My mom came too, to spectate. The starting area was outside Ohio Stadium and all the parking lots on the west side of the stadium were the staging area.

The crowd was huge. This was only a 4-miler, but there would be 15,000 runners. Most of them wore Buckeye gear, of course. Several women had the "Frankly Scarlet" SparkleSkirt like mine. There was a lot going on including vendor booths, photos with Brutus Buckeye, a stage show, and more. Ohio State cheerleaders and Brutus Buckeye cheered on each corral as it started. The official starter was Shelley Meyer, the wife of football coach Urban Meyer.

Pre-race pic of me and Nikki; sporting my "Frankly Scarlet" skirt
My only pic of the stage and Brutus had my finger in it, sigh
Approaching the starting line with St. John arena in the background - finally!

It took nearly 45 minutes after gun time before our corral started. Very early on I realized that we should have been in a faster corral. Nikki was conservative about her estimated finish time due to a couple injuries. We started in Corral I, the second to last one. I was seeded in Corral F, and that would have been a better spot for both of us. We had to do a lot of maneuvering around walkers who were taking up the entire width of the road. We did run/walk intervals to accommodate Nikki's knee and toe, but still, we were faster than most of the people in our corral. It was like this for the entire 4 miles, zigging and zagging, but we did OK.

The weather was beautiful. It started out chilly, and I wore long sleeves, but I soon wished I hadn't. The sun was out and it felt warm. But it was only a 4-miler, so no biggie. The miles went by quickly since there was much to see and Nikki and I chatted most of the way. There was one water station at the halfway point. We both agreed that it would have been nice to have two, equally spaced.

The course was a very nice run through the campus of The Ohio State University. I noted all the things that had changed since I was a student, and those that hadn't changed. It was interesting to see some of the classic, older buildings with modern extensions and other features. I guess the university must keep up with the times. We looped back to Ohio Stadium where we would finish.

Outside Page Hall, where my dad worked when I was a student
Looking down the Oval toward the main library 
Running back toward Ohio Stadium - almost there!

There was my mom as we approached the tunnel to run into the stadium; Nikki saw her before I did. There was no time to stop for a high-five or a hug, as we were running through a bottleneck of other runners. It was a pretty exciting feeling to be charging into the stadium. I started recording video as we emerged onto the track, ran a little more than halfway up the field, then turned around to complete our big finish on the 50-yard line. It was fun, and kind of surreal. (And then I found out later that my video didn't take. I must have accidentally stopped recording right after I started. I have one second of video of people's feet on the field.)

Entering the tunnel, my mom is on the left, but you can't see her yet

After the finish line, Nikki and I stopped for a quick finish selfie. I completely forgot to look for Brutus to get a photo with him, so I guess I'll need to do this race again. While getting into the stadium was fast and exciting, getting out was another story. We were bottlenecked, but moving very slowly to get back to the staging area outside the stadium. That's where we picked up our medals, water and post-race food. For a short race, there was quite a spread: bananas, granola bars, fruit chews, potato chips inside the runners-only area. Then when we exited there were vendors with chocolate milk and other goodies. We didn't stick around long to explore because I had a flight to catch and Nikki had a busy day ahead too.

Finishing in the Horseshoe - awesome!
We did it!
Aerial view of the campus and Ohio Stadium as I flew out that afternoon

I had a great time at this race, and would love to run it again. The logistics were good, the vibe was fun, and the medals were outstanding. Our medal was an aerial view of Ohio Stadium.


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