(COLUMBUS, OH) – Zach Kreft of Sunbury won the 2023 Nationwide Children’s Hospital  Columbus Marathon in 2:18:07, narrowly missing the U.S. Olympic Trial Qualifying standard of  2:18:00 in his first-ever marathon. 

James Ngandu of Kenya won his fifth straight Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus 1/2  Marathon title with a time of 1:03:27. Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon 2nd place female finisher Shannon Smith qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with a time of 2:36:43.  

The 2023 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon featured a sold out field of 12,000 participants and, as a result of the event, more than $1 million has been  raised to support the work of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, totaling more than $13 million  since the partnership began in 2012. 

“We had a sold-out field of 12,000 people run in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus  Marathon or 1/2 Marathon today. This underscores the huge support for this event and  Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” said Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½  Marathon Race Director Darris Blackford. “Nationwide Children’s is a community treasure and  it’s an honor for the Columbus Marathon to partner with them to raise life-saving dollars for the  millions of children who are served by them each year. “ 

Following were highlights of the day: 

  • $1 million and counting was raised for Nationwide Children's Hospital during the 2023 event; for a total of approximately $13 million raised since the partnership with the  hospital started in 2012; 
  • A sold-out field of 12,000 participants from 47 states, Washington D.C. and 13 countries. 24 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Marathon Mile Champions and their families were  along 24 miles; one mile was the Angel Mile, dedicated to the angels of Nationwide  Children’s who have already run their race; and one mile was the Encore Mile for the  Marathon Mile Champions from previous races. 
  • 101 participants celebrated their birthday race weekend 


**Qualified for the US Olympic Trials 

Marathon Male 

Zach Kreft, Sunbury, OH 2:18:07 

Kristoffer Mugrage, Alamosa, CO 2:19:22 

George Onyancha, Grand Prairie, TX 2:20:30

Marathon Female 

Damaris Areba, Kenya 2:34:38 

Shannon Smith, Flagstaff, AZ 2:36:43** 

Christina Murphy, Columbus, OH 2:42:00 

½ Marathon Male 

James Ngandu, Kenya 1:03:27 

Raymond Magut, Kenya 1:05:40 

Nick Stricklen, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 1:06:02 

½ Marathon Female 

Sarah Naibei, Kenya 1:11:20 

Kelsey Pontius, Jacksonville, FL 1:15:39 

Hannah Wymer, Findlay, OH 1:16:26 

FUN FACTS about the 43rd Nationwide Children’s  

Hospital Columbus Marathon & 17th ½ Marathon 


  • 24 Marathon Mile Champions who have shared their stories to inspire Over 1,100 volunteers that make this marathon possible 
  • More than 12,000 athletes who come from 47 states, D.C. and 13 countries. More than 60 bands, DJs and entertainers add extra cheer 
  • 25-member marathon team and 9-member marathon board of directors have put in  approximately 10,000 hours of planning 
  • 30 Striding Slider (presented by White Castle) pace team leaders 
  • Approximately 100,000 spectators cheer on athletes on Race Day 
  • More than 400 Children’s Champions raise money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital  through the event 
  • 101 participants will be celebrating their birthday race weekend 


  • 100,000 White Castle cups of water to quench thirst 
  • 100,000-plus cups of Lemon-Lime Gatorade when water just doesn’t cut it 8,000 bananas; 6,000 apples; 16,000 bottles of water; 10,000 peanut butter sandwich  cracker 6-packs; 10,000 packets of string cheese; 10,000 cartons of chocolate milk;  10,000 bagels; 10,000 Frito-Lay chips and 10,000 yummy frozen treats and popsicles 500-plus portable bathrooms for relief 
  • 3,000 Clif Shot energy gels to refuel (strawberry, citrus and mocha flavored) THE COURSE
  • 1 Angel Mile to honor, remember and celebrate the angels of Nationwide Children’s  who have already finished their race 
  • 1 Encore Mile, for the 400+ patients who lined the 2012 – 2022 Nationwide Children’s  Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon course 
  • 201,600-watt sound system to rev up runners at the Start Line 
  • 27 permits throughout five different police jurisdictions to close 26.2 miles of roads Thousands of pounds of discarded clothes donated to Goodwill Columbus 


  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital has more than 1.7 million patient visits annually and  stays true to its mission of providing care regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Last year, it provided more than $259 million in charity care and community benefit  services and welcomed patients from all 50 U.S. states and 45 foreign countries. 
  • As a result of the partnership between the Columbus Marathon and Nationwide  Children’s Hospital, more than $12 million has been raised to support the work of  Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 
  • Once again listed on U.S News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospital Honor Roll, a  distinction awarded to only 10 children’s centers nationwide. 
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital is America's second largest children's hospital and has  America's highest number of NICU beds, inpatient surgeries, clinic, urgent care,  diagnostic therapy, and outpatient visits. 

About The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon has raised more than  $12 million for Nationwide Children's Hospital since it became the title beneficiary of the event  in 2012. The Columbus Marathon will be held for the 43rd time in 2023; this year will mark the  17th edition of the ½ Marathon and the second for both the Jesse Owens 5K and 1 Mile races.  For more information, visit www.columbusmarathon.com.  

For more information on today’s race and full race results, visit