Runners show personal strength, department pride

Standing together

Some runners crossed the finish line with grandeur, smiling and pumping their fists to mark the occasion of their personal victories.

Others stumbled into the Finish on Fourth after party, exhausted from the physical exertion it took to run to 13.1 or 26.2 miles.

But one group of runners finished their race quietly, humbly accepting the cheers and applause of spectators. Because when the German Township firefighters crossed the 5K finish line, the crowd took notice.

“It’s kind of a tradition with our fire department to compete in local races in our full uniforms,” said Amy Gephart, a volunteer with the German Township Fire Department.

The firefighters walked the course of the 5K all while dressed in full firefighting attire, including helmets, coats and boots.

The volunteers finished the course in about an hour, but to them it was not about the time. It was standing together, while both on-duty and off, Gephart said.

“I like to do this with the fire depart- ment,” Gephart said. “They’re like my second family.”

Strength and pride

A local Marine veteran who is still on a medical marathon to regain his hearing after brain surgery completed the Mill Race half-marathon in about two-and-a-half hours.

Jon Templeman, a nurse at Columbus-based Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, completed the half-marathon seven months after having a 1.5-centimeter tumor removed from his ear canal during surgery in California.

“I’m a little tired,” Templeman (pictured at right) said after completing the 13.1 miles, adding that the last two miles were the toughest.

“But I did better than I thought.”

Templeman said he had been hoping to complete the half-marathon in under three hours.

“I just wanted to finish,” he said.

Templeman wore a shirt while competing to promote awareness of brain tumors and the challenges patients face in recovery.

The shirt said:

» Brain surgery, $100,000

» Running shoes, $100

» Race entry, $50

» Running a half-marathon seven months later, PRICELESS!!!

On Monday, he is undergoing the first in a series of procedures at an Indianapolis hospital that will restore hearing in his right ear, he said.

A few people were looking at his shirt, but Templeman said he didn’t really talk to anyone about it at the start of the race.

“I was so focused on putting one foot in front of the other,” he said.

Moving to the music

QMIX Radio live remote hosts Brittany Gray and Tim Green delivered the station’s hit music in between a bit of commentary and semi-play-by-play three blocks from the finish line.

Much of their selected music highlighted either running or athletic themes, along with fighting through adversity, or included titles reflecting get-me-outta-here exhaustion.

At one point came Katy Perry’s “Roar.” A bit later with more straggling finishers? Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty.”

Like a cat?

Eleven-year-old Eshaan Mehta tried the 25-foot stunt jump at the Johnson-Witkemper Finish On Fourth post-race party not quite knowing what to expect — or what he was supposed to do other than jump from a platform onto an oversized, nearly seven-foot-high inflatable.

He heard that leapers ideally were supposed to land gently on their back or bottom.

But Mehta landed on his feet.

“When you’re coming down like that, it’s pretty hard to control yourself,” he said.

— Staff Reports