COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 8th Annual Capital City Half Marathon reached a new level of success on Saturday May 7th when a record field of more than 11,000 runners and walkers were entertained by more than 20 bands and 13 deejays on an incredible tour of downtown Columbus and surrounding neighborhoods. They were then celebrated at an elaborate finish line party and concert while enjoying sparkling wine and dark chocolate.
Capital City became the first road race in the Country to toast its entire field with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Yellow Tail Bubbles Sparkling Wine was provided to all finishers over the age of 21 who completed the Half Marathon, inaugural Quarter Marathon or the Commit To Be Fit 5K. Bavarian chocolates from Le Chocoholique were also provided to all finishers.
“The Capital City Half Marathon has always been about the celebration of the active healthy lifestyle, and we raised the bar to a new level in 2011,” race director David Babner said. “When Jerry DePizzo of the rock band O.A.R. played the national anthem on his saxophone people got chills. No one had ever heard anything like that before at a road race. Then we entertained the field with 20 bands and 13 deejays on a new world-class course. After the race, we celebrated our finishers with Yellow Tail Bubbles sparkling wine, chocolates, Donatos pizza and the Michelob Ultra Beer Garden at the Byers Imports Xtra Mile Finish Line Party and post race concert presented by Michelob Ultra.”
After DePizzo played the national anthem, champions and city leaders such as Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, former world heavyweight champion Buster Douglas and Super Bowl champion Mike Doss, among others, each lead the start of the runners and walkers in each of seven waves.
The new Capital City Half Marathon course took participants on a spectacular tour of Columbus — from downtown to the Ohio State University campus, through the South Campus Gateway, through the Short North Arts District, German Village and the Arena District — before finishing at Nationwide Arena.
Kenyan Robert Letting, 31, of New Mexico won the Half Marathon in 1:05:03. Kristen Carter, 24, a former Ohio State runner, won the women's race in 1:19:51. Brady Diercks, 25, of Columbus, won the Quarter Marathon in 41:29, and Beth August, 37, of Dublin, was the top female in 44:07. David Lang (18:22) and Gina Springer (22:29) were the top male and female finishers in the Commit To Be Fit 5K.
“The Capital City Half Marathon has always been a great event for the City of Columbus and State of Ohio, but today it became a great regional and national event,” Babner said. “From the two-day Health & Fitness Expo to 20 bands and 13 deejays on the new course to the Byers Xtra Mile Finish Line Party, we celebrated the success of each and every participant in this year's race. We are proud that Capital City now has the reputation of providing a Celebration Fit For a Champion.
“The new course was a home run with our runners, walkers and spectators. Our race is the best tour of Columbus on Two Feet, and it is the only half marathon that allows runners and walkers to experience a five-mile stretch of High Street that goes through the Ohio State University campus, South Campus Gateway, Short North, German Village and the Arena District.”
The post-race Byers Xtra Mile Finish Line Party presented by Michelob Ultra featured a four-hour concert by the Columbus band SWAGG. Other highlights included the complimentary Donatos Pizza, Yellow Tail Sparkling Wine and Le Chocoholique chocolates; the Michelob Ultra beer garden; Schmidt's Sausage Haus; cocktails at the VSX booth and the Brooks Run Happy Cavalcade of Curiosities trailer.
The Capital City Half Marathon weekend kicked off with the first-ever Health & Fitness Expo Party at the Battelle Grand on Thursday, May 5 and Friday, May 6. The Expo Party featured a “Panel of Champions” presentation on Thursday that featured Doss, Danny O'Rourke of the Columbus Crew, basketball legend Katie Smith, track star Stephanie Hightower, OSU strength and conditioning coach Anthony Schlegel, World Series champion Kent Mercker and former OSU basketball star Rick Smith. The event was emceed by Dan Fronczak of WBNS-TV (Channel 10).
The Panel of Champions was followed by the Champions VIP Rececption, which was hosted by Coleman and emceed by Andrea Cambern of WBNS-TV (Channel 10). Capital City's 2012 Bicentennial Logo was unveiled at the reception with the help of Coleman, City Council members Michelle Mills and Zach Klein and Cambern.
The Capital City Half Marathon strove to raise more than $1 million for charity through the partners with six Official Charities, including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training; the American Cancer Society's DetermiNation program; Flying Horse Farms; the Capital Kids, Charity Newsies and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.
Official Sponsors in 2011 included Byers Imports, Diamond Cellar, Donatos Pizza, Marathon Petroleum, Michelob Ultra, OhioHealth, VSX and Yellow Tail.
The Capital City Half Marathon, founded in 2004 and produced by M3S Sports, has grown into one of the largest half marathons in the Midwest. The 2011 race weekend will generated an estimated $4 million in visitor spending. The 9th Annual Capital City Half Marathon and related events will be held in Columbus May 3-5, 2012. Registration opens June 1, 2011.