About

Columbus has 10 sister cities worldwide. Our mission at Dresden Sister City, Inc. is to create exchange opportunities for Greater Columbus residents and entities with our sister city Dresden, Germany, and thereby promote international understanding.

In 2012, Columbus celebrated its Bicentennial, and we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the signing Columbus-Dresden Sister City Agreement. The race director of the Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon, Darris Blackford, was searching for a special way to celebrate the city’s Bicentennial during the Marathon, and we were looking for a special way to celebrate the sister city anniversary.

That fall, twenty “Columbus Marathon Ambassadors” traveled to Dresden and participated in the Dresden Marathon, which coincided with the Columbus Marathon, and two Dresden runners came to Columbus and ran our race the same day.

Since then, we have developed a sustainable and popular program, which has grown to include two other sister cities: Hefei, China, and Curitiba, Brazil.

Here are the program details:

Every year, in October we exchange 5 runners to participate in their sister city’s marathon or half marathon. The runners are selected in a competitive application process in spring. The “Marathon Ambassadors” receive free race entry and a 5-night home stay in their sister city, as well as some programming, such as guided tours, a welcome reception, a meeting with City officials, transportation, and VIP treatment on marathon day. We are looking for people who are good ambassadors of our city and race, and that does not necessarily mean that we select the best runners. We like open-minded, curious people, who understand the exchange idea, and who are willing to contribute to this and other programs in the future.

We cannot offer this program without YOUR SUPPORT! We need:

  • Program Sponsors
    • Corporate Donations for a travel stipend for our Marathon Ambassadors
    • Individual Donations for program support
    • Silent Auction items for the Marathon Exchange Fundraiser in September
    • Restaurant gift cards for the hosts
  • Volunteers
    • Hosts for the home stays for the 5 Dresden runners
    • Dinner Hosts for our Farewell Dinner Party for the Dresden runners
    • Tour Guides (Columbus and neighborhoods)
    • Drivers for the Dresden runners if hosts are unavailable
    • Water Stop Volunteers on Marathon Day