News Room Articles

Nationwide Insurance Columbus Marathon, Nationwide Insurance Partner with Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Hospital named title beneficiary of marathon; event celebrates community’s giving spirit and honors patients of Nationwide Children’s


Columbus, OH - 1/18/2012

Today, the Nationwide Insurance Columbus Marathon and Nationwide Insurance are making Nationwide Children’s Hospital the title beneficiary of the annual running and walking event, renaming it the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon.

The agreement is for three years and takes effect immediately. The goal of the partnership is to engage the community while gaining corporate and participant support of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s non-profit mission. 

Nationwide Insurance remains as one of the event’s lead sponsors and will continue providing corporate support. Nationwide Insurance has been a key sponsor of the Marathon since the event’s inception in 1980.

“We are excited about this transition as we continue our involvement with the newly named Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and 1/2 Marathon,” said Chad Jester, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Nationwide Insurance. “The annual running and walking event has become nationally renowned and showcases tens of thousands of people who participate as athletes, volunteers and spectators. We see the engagement with the hospital as another great opportunity for the entire community to further support the life-saving work undertaken at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.”

Bill Burns, Chairman of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon Board of Trustees, said the group is honored to be a part of this.

“Adding Nationwide Children’s Hospital as our title beneficiary significantly increases the positive impact our event has on the entire community,” Burns said. “We could not ask for a better corporate partner than Nationwide Insurance, as they have stood with us since day one. The sky is the limit in terms of how this powerful collaboration will benefit the participants, volunteers and sponsors, and the entire Columbus community, and of course, what it can mean for the hospital.”

Steve Allen, M.D. and chief executive officer of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, added, “We want to recognize Nationwide Insurance for once again coming forward to support both the Marathon and the hospital in their role as one of our community’s most engaged corporate leaders. We also thank the Columbus Marathon for selecting Nationwide Children’s Hospital as their title beneficiary.  This event is already nationally recognized as America’s best-organized marathon and is always one of the biggest events on the Columbus calendar.  As the City celebrates its Bicentennial year, the hospital marks its 120th year of providing the best possible care to children regardless of a family’s ability to pay. We can only do this thanks to tremendous community support and partnerships like the one we’ve announced today.”

To kick-off the spirit of charitable giving, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon is issuing a “call to commit” to this year’s participants – the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon will match the first  $100,000 in donations that are raised for the hospital by participants in the 2012 race. Fundraising participants are part of Children’s Champions - a team of athletes who dedicate their race to the kids of Nationwide Children’s. Hopes are that other corporate partners will provide similar matching opportunities to encourage fundraising efforts.

“We are honored to have such a favorable impact on our community, and this new relationship will help us do even more good work,” said Darris Blackford, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon Race Director. “Running and walking can be good for your health, and can make a difference in the lives of others, too.”

In addition, there are several new components that will pay tribute to and honor the millions of patients Nationwide Children’s Hospital cares for annually.  Each of the 26 miles, deemed the “Miracle Miles”, will be dedicated to a “Patient Champion” – a current patient of Nationwide Children’s. The community will have the opportunity to nominate a child as a Patient Champion (more information about nominating a child will be shared at a later date). Patient Champions will also be involved in other aspects of the event, from cheering participants on at the finish line, to presenting the marathon medals. Each Miracle Mile can be sponsored by a corporate or community organization in which the partners hope to have full engagement.

Today, the partners are also excited to announce the very first Patient Champion who will represent the inaugurally sponsored “Nationwide Insurance Miracle Mile” – Alison Hile. Alison, 11, is the daughter of Doug and Jill Hile (Hilliard, OH) who are both associates at Nationwide Insurance. Alison has been a patient of Nationwide Children’s since she was just days old when she was first diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. The Hile family leads an active lifestyle and loves to run which is actually very healthy for Alison’s lungs and is an important part of her continued treatment as a patient living with cystic fibrosis.

The announcement of this partnership comes on the heels of a recent economic impact study conducted by Fisher Business Services at The Ohio State University that estimated the lifetime economic impact of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon’s 32-year history to be more than $154 million, including $13 million in 2011.

Additionally announced today were several special Bicentennial activities to commemorate the City’s Bicentennial.  These include special recognitions honoring the city at the Race Expo, Start Line and Celebration Village; every 200th finisher will get a special award; hundreds of athletes will hold up large Bicentennial banners at the start line that will feature the 200Columbus logo, which will make for spectacular aerial photographs; all participants in the Children’s Run will wear #200 on their runner bibs; and much more.

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon has helped raise millions of dollars as a fundraising mechanism for many charities over its 32-year history, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, the Hospice Foundation’s Run to Remember, The Susan G. Komen For the Cure’s Marathon for the Cure and the American Cancer Society’s Team Determination. These and other charities will be encouraged to continue their fundraising efforts under the new agreement.

About Nationwide
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.

Nationwide, the Nationwide frame mark, and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company

About The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon
The 33rd Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon will be held on Sunday, October 21, 2012 and will have the capacity of 7,000 full Marathoners and 11,000 1/2 Marathoners. Registration officially opens on Saturday, January 21, 2012. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon is among the 20 largest marathons in the United States and is one of the top marathons to qualify runners for the Boston Marathon. For more information, visit www.columbusmarathon.com or call 614.421.7866.

About Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Ranked in U.S.News & World Report’s 2011-12 “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare networks providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children, and adolescents as well as adult patients with congenital disease. A medical staff of 1000 and a hospital staff of 7,600 provide state-of-the-art pediatric care for more than 949,000 patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s Hospital physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. Nationwide Children’s remains true to the original mission since its founding in 1892 of providing care regardless of a family’s ability to pay. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Sarah Irvin Clark, Irvin PR, 614.296.4057 (cell)
Mary Ellen Peacock, Nationwide Children’s, 614.355.0495
Gayle Saunders, Nationwide Insurance, 614.203.4772

From left to right: Chad Jester, vice president, Corporate Citizenship, Nationwide Insurance; Doug Hile, associate at Nationwide Insurance and father of patient Alison Hile; Alison Hile, first Patient Champion in Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon; Darris Blackford, Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon race director; Dr. Steve Allen, CEO of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

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Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000