Some participants in this year's Columbus Marathon were running for more than competition.
Scott and Teresa Dimpfls of Grove City were among the 2012 Spirit Award winners for the 33rd Anniversary Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. The award is given to individuals who have inspired others by overcoming obstacles.
"We're humbled," Scott Dimpfl said. "We aren't doing this for recognition."
Other Spirit Award Winners this year are Kim Crowe of Kentucky, Aurora De Lucia of California, Dr. Michael Dick of Columbus, Adam Granlee of Marion, Mark Herenstein of Lewis Center, Stephanie Kreitzburg of Canal Winchester, Heath Miller of Mechanicsburg, Tate Niemann of Worthington and Wendi Young of Springfield.
On Feb. 15, the Dimpfls' daughter Natalie Rose was born with a rare, congenital blood vessel malformation in her brain, and on Feb. 24, she developed complications from surgery and passed away.
"It's the hardest thing you could go through as a parent," Scott Dimpfl said. "It definitely puts everything in perspective."
Natalie Rose was treated at Nationwide Children's Hospital, where Scott Dimpfl described the care and service as "amazing."
"I have nothing but good things to say about the hospital and the people who work there," he said. "It means a lot to us and continues to help."
For the Columbus Marathon, the Dimpfls created "Team Natalie Rose" and have been working to raise money for the hospital.
Scott ran in the full marathon while Teresa was in the half-marathon. Members of their team joined them.
"We created the team and sent out a bunch of invitations to our friends and family to donate to the cause," Scott Dimpfl said. "We're hoping to be able to raise some money to go back into the facilities or be able to help someone else get the same level of care we got."
So far, Scott Dimpfl said, they have raised more than $1,000.
"We definitely surpassed our fundraiser goals," he said. "We've got a lot runners and supporters."
The 33rd Columbus Marathon was held Sunday, Oct. 21, and featured 7,000 marathoners and 11,000 half-marathoners.
Earlier this year, Nationwide Children's Hospital partnered with the marathon to be the event's official title beneficiary.
Participants have been encouraged to raise money for the hospital.
Race Director Darris Blackford said Nationwide Children's Hospital has been involved with the race since 1980, and the partnership makes perfect sense.
"We jumped at the chance to partner with them," he said. "It's really a win-win for everybody."
As part of the agreement between the hospital and the marathon, the first $100,000 raised by the marathon's participants will be matched by the marathon's board of directors.
"What we did this year is ask our participants if they would like to donate," Blackford said. "You don't have to do it if you don't want to, but it's a great opportunity."
More information about the marathon, including ways to donate, is available online at columbusmarathon.com.