Participants in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon and 1/2 Marathon will have a change of scenery on portions of the course this year.

"In a growing city like Columbus, change and construction are inevitable," race director Darris Blackford said. "The fact is we have so few changes, which is good because we don't have to change the quality of the event."

The 39th annual marathon and 13th annual half marathon, which are expected to draw nearly 18,000 participants, are scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at North Bank Park, 311 W. Long St. in downtown Columbus.

The course -- considered "user-friendly" by the marathon community, Blackford said -- meanders through parts of Bexley, downtown and east Columbus, German Village, Grandview Heights, Ohio State University, Upper Arlington and Victorian Village.

The course changes begin at mile 14, where the race will move off High Street and onto Buttles, Dennison, First and Hunter avenues.

At miles 16 and 17, the new route will be College Avenue to Woodruff Avenue and no longer travel along Annie and John Glenn Drive or Cannon Drive past the southern end of Ohio Stadium. Runners still will continue on Woody Hayes Drive and pass in front of the north end of Ohio Stadium.

At mile 18, the race no longer will proceed on the bike path from Ohio State University to Upper Arlington. Participants will follow a route from Woody Hayes Drive to Kenny Road, Lane Avenue and North Star Road before resuming the regular course through Upper Arlington.

Mile 22 will proceed only on the edge Grandview Yard.

After the route leaves Grandview Heights, it will be the same as in previous years to the mostly downhill finish near North Bank Park.

"What was nice was to be able to utilize the neighborhoods we already go through," Blackford said.

Celebration Village, a party that coincides with the marathon, will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in North Bank Park. It will include food trucks, nonalcoholic beverages, a gong people can ring if they achieved a personal best time and live entertainment.

Tiffany Black, assistant director of corporate partnerships for Nationwide Children's Hospital, will be among the runners.

"Each mile serves as a reminder of the why I choose to work for Nationwide Children's Hospital," Black said. "Running is a release. Running allows me to escape the stress or burdens that each day brings.

"For some of our patients and families, they cannot escape the reality that they are facing. As an NCH employee, I race in honor of the kids who are currently in the hospital and in celebration of those who are no longer in the hospital."

The Columbus marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and the Atlanta trials for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Blackford said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary