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A perfect race for me: The OSU 4-miler

Location, distance, theme and swag — each factor makes a race unique. The OSU 4-miler took me by surprise in every category, and I can honestly say it is the best race I have completed to date.

First of all, location. Our starting line was just outside of Ohio Stadium, on a crisp fall morning in Columbus. Awesome, right? Even more awesome was the finish line, which was right on the 50 yard line of the Horseshoe. That's right, Kyle and I ran "Across the Field" to end our race.

 The distance of 4 miles had me skeptical at first. Why not a 5K or 5 miles? Who knows. All I know is that the course took us on a scenic tour of campus, and time seemed to fly by, despite the fact that my phone died right before the race, leaving me without music. Four miles ended up being the perfect distance to make me feel accomplished, yet still able to enjoy the celebration when it was over.

The theme, obviously, centered around a love for all things Ohio State Buckeyes. Former football and basketball players raced alongside us, high-fived us on the field, and led us in "Quick Cals" at the start of each corral. Names included Bobby Carpenter, Anthony Schlegel, Scoonie Penn, Dimitrious Stanley, JJ Sullinger, Ryan Miller and more!
Brutus and the OSU cheerleaders cheered us on at the starting line, and we saw members of The Best Damn Band In The Land running in their uniform hats. (They have to be in shape to march in those amazing halftime shows, right?)

Swag included OSU bags, custom bibs and long-sleeved tech tees. Plus, our sweet medals shaped life the Horseshoe.

Put it all together, and you have an runner fan's perfect day.

Kyle and I both had a blast, and we vowed to run it again. This was the first year for the race, but it set a record for being the largest inaugural race in Ohio history with 10,000 participants. Of course, we bet they'll have another. I told Kyle from the beginning this race was genius, because putting Buckeyes on anything makes it sell. He agreed. He said if they had "Buckeye prostate exams" people would line up out the door. (Maybe I should send this to the director of marketing at OSU Medical Center, ha!)

I also made the race memorable for myself. A few weeks ago, I realized I could be right around the 100 pound weight loss mark on race day. A funny T-shirt idea came to mind, and that was that. I got a lot of compliments from people before, during and after the race. I almost chickened out and left it at home, but I'm glad I chose to use the occasion to celebrate all that I've accomplished.

Plus, I got to mock Michigan. Win-win, right?

I also feel like I enjoyed this race more than any other, because I decided not to run for speed and instead pace Kyle. He did such a great job! A few months ago, he basically said he was done running after he finished his first 5K. But after training for and running this race, he's not ready to stop. I am so, so happy to have him by my side for our fitness journey. Next year, I hope we can do some more races together. He's got his sights set on a Spartan race, but we'll see what the wind blows our way.

Though I was really annoyed with my phone for shutting off before the start, it was a blessing in disguise. Without music, I was more aware of my surroundings and felt more present while running. I truly enjoyed my run the entire way, and I can't say that very often! I felt like I was smiling the entire time, and when we ran down the ramp to enter the stadium, I started dancing my way to the finish. It was the perfect ending to the perfect race!


  1. Tami,

    Very inspiring story I must say! My girlfriend and I ran the 4-miler as well. In fact in the link below, I am the big yellow dude standing behind you at the start line of the 10min pace, desperately trying to get his runkeeper app fired up! In fact I had taken a picture of the back of your shirt, which I thought was hilarious!

    This was my longest race to date. I too am on a weight loss / fitness journey, currently at 87lbs down since May of 2012 with about another 30 to go. I started a Couch 2 5K program at the beginning of Aug and ran my first 5K (Toledo Komen) at the end of September. I was was amazing to me how well the Couch 2 5K training program worked and what a huge difference between week 1 and week 8. About half way thru the program my son decided he wanted to start running with me, so I started a new Couch 2 5K training program with him. A few weeks later a buddy decided he wanted to try it out, so at one point I was finishing week 7 by myself, week 3 with my son and week 1 with my buddy. I looked at it as just more training for me, and was excited that my son wanted to run a 5K with me. I managed a 10:48 pace / 33:36 time for the NWO Komen 5K which I was pretty happy with, my initial goal being a 10:30 pace. I signed my son and I up for the Trick or Trot 5K in Maumee and we ran at his pace for his 1st 5K (he's 12) and my 2nd. It was a cold and rainy morning but it was a great experience to cross the finish line with him.

    My girlfriend has done a few 5K's in the past and is also on a fitness / weight loss journey. She's been running longer than I have and is slightly faster, but decided to sign up to run the OSU 4-miler with me. She said she would run at my pace so that we could run and finish together, which we did...with a 41:34 time/ 10:24 pace. I didn't know what to expect to be honest, I had done a couple longer training runs past 4 miles so I knew I could run it...and was hoping to get under a 10min pace but didn't know what the day would bring.

    We hit the first mile with a 9:47 pace which was a bit faster than I really was COLD out and my fingers were freezing thru my thin glove liners. We slowed down a bit during mile 2 and 3 but finished strong as we headed towards the tunnel, down the side lines and across the field. How awesome was it to be able to run out of that tunnel and onto the field?! I swear I almost teared up as my foot touched the was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and it warmed my heart that she was next to me as we headed towards the finish line. We had to separate slightly due to other runners in our path but we crossed at the same time. I even got to high five Brutus as I crossed!

    Our next race is a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning here in Toledo. I'd like to get a 10K and 14K under my belt with my goal being the Glass City 1/2 marathon next April. I'm also a cyclist (I had trained for and completed the 62 mile route of the Mad Anthony River Rally last Aug) and am doing the MS 150 Bike to the Bay next June with my goal being to complete it in better shape and time than I did in 2004.

    Congrats again on a job well done, and good luck to you on your journey to better health! :)

    -Bill Kramer

    1. Bill, thank you so much for commenting! Congrats on your own personal health journey — it's so great to find other people who have gone/are going through the same things. We live about an hour from Toledo, but we visit often. In fact, my favorite training runs were at Metro Parks this summer. I am also considering the Glass City half in April, though the Martin half in Dearborn, Mich., might be my next big race instead. And you mention cycling — my husband loves cycling like I love running, and he wants to do the Bike to the Bay eventually. Hope your journey continues to go well, and maybe I'll see you at another race someday!

    2. P.S. How did you find that photo? Are there more out there?

  2. Thanks Tami! :) I found it on the link on M3S Sports FB Page where they had posted pics of the event. Here's the link:

    Today watching the Buckeyes trounce Indiana I couldn't help but keep thinking I WAS running down that field 2 weeks ago! Arguably one of the BEST moments of my life.

    Cycling is a great way to cross train, and even though I'm surprised at how much I've taken to and enjoy running, I still consider cycling my true passion. Something about being able to pedal under your own power and go over 30MPH is just an adrenalin rush to me. But it IS more dangerous than running, especially with crazy drivers on the road. Good luck to you and your husband as you achieve your goals. Doing it with your best friend by your side is a truly amazing thing! :)


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