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Scarlet mile kicks off Nationwide Columbus Marathon

Mary Posani / Lantern reporter

Ohio State students kicked off the Nationwide Better Health Columbus Marathon with the Long Scarlet Line run Friday morning.

Long Scarlet Line was a one-mile run starting at the west entrance of the RPAC, going around Ohio Stadium and ending in Larkin’s Plaza outside McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. Students registered inside the RPAC starting around 6:30 a.m. Registration was free for anyone and more than 600 students signed up for the race.

Kristin Smith, director of sponsorship for the Department of Recreational Sports, said she was pleased with the student turnout and the high energy early in the morning.

“Amazing. Absolutely amazing,” Smith said. “To see the number of students who came out, to know how many students are running maybe their first half or full marathon this Sunday, and to see the spirit that they showed was fantastic.”

Long Scarlet Line was a free event that attracted more than 600 participants. Runners were to wear everything and anything scarlet for the run. Outfits and attire ranged from red spandex full-body suits, to the OSU club football team wearing their pads and helmets, and even one student painting himself with red cake icing.

The one-mile run was sponsored and paid for by Nike, Inc. Nike donated decorations, including balloons, a banner saying “We Run Columbus” and two ice sculptures. Nike also contributed $1,500 for the run’s contest: The organization with the most participants received $1,000, and the organization with the most spirit received $500.

BuckeyeThon, a student service organization that works to raise money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and its pediatric cancer care, won the $1,000 cash prize with more than 50 participants.

“We are incredibly excited,” said Mark Mangia, a fourth-year in medical technology and representative from BuckeyeThon. “It was amazing to see that many people at 7 a.m. on a Friday.”

Mangia said BuckeyeThon’s winnings will contribute to the organization’s 2012 total fundraising amount for the hospital.

Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity works in partnership with BuckeyeThon. About 20 Pi Kappa Alpha members participated and registered under BuckeyeThon, contributing to their win. However, Pi Kappa Alpha left with the $500 prize for most spirit.

Phil Billow, a third-year in political science and philosophy, is also vice president of external affairs for Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Billow won the judges over by painting himself head-to-toe in red butter cream frosting.

Billow is excited about Pi Kappa Alpha winning the $500 check.

“(It feels) fantastic,” Billow said. “It was just a really fun event.”

Billow said Pi Kappa Alpha will use the $500 for the Rivalry Run, a relay run of the OSU-Michigan game ball from Columbus to Ann Arbor, Mich. Pi Kappa Alpha raises money for leukemia research.

The first 500 participants received Nike Dry-Fit shirts. Additional prizes consisted of beaded necklaces, pom-poms and cowbells. All participants were also given breakfast at the end of the race.

Nike is also a sponsor for Nationwide Columbus Marathon. Ambassadors from Nike@OSU helped make the Long Scarlet Line a successful start for Sunday’s race.

“I am shocked that we had that much support from all those students. It was 8 o’clock in the morning,” said Darris Blackford, race director from the Columbus Marathon. “I walked into (the RPAC) and my jaw dropped.”

Adam Yu, a fourth-year in international studies, ran in Friday’s run. Yu said he enjoyed the run and the high energy.

“It really brought all of us together,” Yu said. “I thought it was one of the best Fridays ever.”

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