Preparation of marathon planners pays off nicely

Possibly the best way to describe the third annual Mill Race Marathon was smooth.

Thousands of runners participated in the various events, smiles were abundant, and residents got in on the fun. Basically, everything went as organizers hoped it would Sept. 25 and 26.

After some marathon runners were mistakenly led off course the first year and a train interrupted the marathon last year, a sense of normalcy was evident this time. Marathon organizers deserve credit for that.

They did extensive planning and made a few tweaks — changes to the course and moving the start/finish line — to ensure that runners enjoyed the beauty of the city and its architecture while following the course, and that the weekend went off without a hitch.

Organizers also tried a regional marketing approach to provide more runners another competitive option with the Mill Race Marathon — a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

This year saw a nice turnout of residents from Indianapolis, Greenwood and Bloomington, as well as Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.

Combing the Kids Fun Run and Saturday’s three running events (marathon, half-marathon and 5K), participation totaled about 4,800 — nearly meeting the organizers’ goal of 5,000. That made for a good showing.

Visitors said they enjoyed the small-town feel of Columbus, the supportive atmosphere and the fun that residents had cheering them on — evident by the neighborhood parties and many handmade signs.

That’s encouraging feedback for planning future Mill Race Marathons and validation that organizers executed well in delivering a good time this year.