Marathon Exchange

Brought to you since 2012
Dresden Sister City, Inc. and
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

The Marathon Exchange is back this year!

For the 9th time, and after a 2-year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are happy to announce that we will resume our in-person exchange this year! It is the 30th anniversary of the Columbus-Dresden sister city connection, so we are offering three Columbus-based runners the opportunity to travel to Dresden, Germany and represent our City and Marathon in the Dresden Marathon on October 30, 2022. The program comes with free race entry of your choice, a home stay and a personal program put together by the hosting committee.


Valerie Kohlwey

Valerie moved to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University, leaving her home state of Utah. After returning to Utah to get a Master’s degree, Valerie came back to Ohio and has now lived in Columbus for nine years, working at The Ohio State University and The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. She set a goal to run a half marathon six years ago and since then has run several half marathons with friends as well as many of the Columbus area 5k, 4 mile, and quarter marathon races with her partner.  Valerie loves to travel and is excited to experience Dresden in a unique way. 

Ellen Onders

Ellen is a CPA and a CrossFit instructor. She grew up in a family of runners and remembers coming to The Columbus Marathon each year to watch her mom race (and to eat Timbits with her sisters along the route). In 2014, she completed her first full marathon alongside her mom, and has run 5 full marathons since. Ellen has run countless halfs all over the world, ran 21 miles on her 21st birthday, and even got engaged at the Cap City race this year! Fitness and travel have always been important outlets for Ellen’s mental and physical health, so she is excited for the opportunity to combine them both and represent Columbus in Germany this fall!

Darren Spensiero

Darren is an architect and a wedding photographer with his wife, Susie. He is a member of the Columbus Italian Club and has family living in Germany, so he is looking forward to immersing himself in the cultural opportunities that this exchange provides. Darren completed the Columbus Marathon in 2013 and 2014 without training and learned his lesson. He started consistently running four years ago and has completed several half marathons and shorter races since then. Darren is excited to experience Dresden’s renowned architectural scene in person, and the marathon is a great way to see as much as possible as quickly as possible!

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