Sarah Seither hopes to make her mark on the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.

It certainly has left its mark on her.

The Merion Village resident has completed both the half marathon and full marathon, which she commemorated by getting two butterfly tattoos on her right arm -- each signifying the particular race she completed.

"I'll be really honest; it's grueling, painful to prepare for," Seither said.

She's taking another shot at the full marathon Oct. 15. If she completes it, it's back to her tattoo artist for another butterfly.

"I have a nice open space on my forearm to put on another one," Seither said.

Seither, 31, is one of 10 people statewide chosen as this year's Spirit Award winners, meaning they have overcome significant challenges to be part of the marathon, race director Darris Blackford said.

Seither also is a "Champion of Children," a title given to those who have raised money for the hospital.

She has given $15,566 since her first race in 2014, which includes $5,500 she raised this year.

"She's just a super example of someone who loves the event and is giving back in a special way," Blackford said.

Seither said she turned to running to overcome the grief she experienced 12 years ago when her mother died at the age of 48.

She was a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton and Community Hospital in Springfield.

She worked tirelessly for her five children, Seither said.

"The impact she made on people's lives was very profound," she said.

Seither, a prescription-drugs benefits manager in Dublin, said she turned to some bad habits -- drugs and cigarettes -- and isolated herself when her mother died.

It brought no relief to her suffering, so she adopted a healthier lifestyle and attitude. The challenge of the marathon was a way to honor her mother's memory.

"Running became my passion to get me out of that darkness," she said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary