Friends of Special Olympics rappel down Rennaisance Hotel

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Downtown's Renaissance Hotel looked like more like a rock face Friday afternoon as more than 40 people rappelled down the building's western side.

Young and old, climber and desk jockey took to the ropes and tiptoed down 22 stories looming over the workday traffic of North Third Street. The opportunity was open to friends of Special Olympics of Ohio who raised money for the charity's upcoming events.

"You sit back and let go," said Deborah Wasserman, a first-time rappeller whose friends and family pledged $807 for her to rappel. "I was going too fast, but I wanted to get the hell off of there."

The event was engineered by Over the Edge, which puts on building descents for nonprofit groups across the country. In Columbus, staff recruited trained volunteers who helped set up ropes, anchors and harnesses on the side of the hotel at 50 N. 3rd St.

Adventurous donors received a short training session and some encouraging words before plunging over the side.

"We have about 40 people today, and we had 10 yesterday going over the edge," spokesperson Megan Carney said from the Renaissance rooftop. "I have not gone over, but I'm planning on it."

This is the first time the event has been done in Ohio, Carney added.

"It's been done by other Special Olympics groups in other states," she explained. "This is our inaugural event."