Off to China for the Hefei International Marathon

I've been laying low since the Columbus Marathon, making sure not to reinjure the calf and allowing the big toe blood blisters (yuck!) to heal. But now it's almost time to leave for China!

My team of five Columbus Marathon Ambassadors had our big fundraiser in October at Land-Grant Brewing Co. We collected donations through raffle ticket sales, a silent auction, and from a portion of drink sales. It was a fun event, and the evening's take will definitely help to off-set our travel costs.

Columbus Marathon Ambassadors to Hefei, China: Will, Courtney, Kristian, Avery, me

Our raffle and silent auction table at Land-Grant, before it got busy

Thank You

I'm no stranger to international travel, but this will be my first time visiting China, and it will also be my first time as part of a cultural exchange. I am honored to represent Columbus in our sister city Hefei. There are lots of people and organizations to thank, and there will be more thanks upon my return, but for now:
  • Greater Columbus Sister Cities International (GCSCI) - thanks to Tiffany Conn and her team for all the hard work in coordinating the marathon exchange program
  • The GCSEI Hefei Committee - thanks for choosing me as an ambassador, and extra thanks to Eric McGraw for all his advice and for coaching us in ordering food from a Chinese restaurant menu (important stuff!)
  • Nationwide Children's Columbus Marathon - thanks to race director Darris Blackford and his team for putting on a world-class event, and for their generous sponsorship
  • Columbus School of Chinese - thanks to Chris Stellato and Connie Hahn for providing Chinese cultural training and for assisting with travel arrangements
  • Land-Grant Brewing Co. - thanks for hosting our fundraiser and for sponsoring us (and for making great local beer)
  • Fleet Feet Sports - thanks for outfitting us in team shirts and for hosting our fun run at the Land-Grant event

The artwork on our t-shirts honors all three of the GCSSI marathon exchange cities; the Hefei team got red shirts

Thanks, as well, to the many other local businesses who supported my team's fundraising efforts. I hope I'm not forgetting anyone: City BBQ, Columbus Pedal Wagon, Columbus Running Company, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Condado Tacos, Dirty Frank's, Donatos, El Vaquero, Five Below, Fleet Feet Sports, Four String Brewing Co., Graeter's, Meijer, One Up Bands, Open Sky Day Spa, Second Sole, Show Me Columbus, Sideswipe Brewing Co., Union CafĂ©, Victory Medal Hangers.

And of course, much gratitude for our community supporters who purchased raffle tickets or silent auction items. I will aim to represent you and Columbus well. Wish our team luck as we run the Hefei International Marathon and Half Marathon on November 12, 2017.

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