All about the PR: Runners set goals to improve themselves

When Ashish Paliwal ran the Inaugural Mill Race Marathon in 2013, he finished in 4 hours, 4 minutes, 4 seconds.

Last year, Paliwal returned to better his personal record to 3:49.

So it only makes sense that this year, the Columbus resident will try to go a little faster and set another PR. His goal for the 26.2-mile race is 3:45.

“I know it’s going to be a stretch target, but that’s what I’m aiming for,” Paliwal said. “It’s very important just to prove to myself I can do it. I’m 46, so every year I can get a PR, that’s an achievement for me. I’m aging at the same time I’m getting the PR, so that’s a great feeling.”

The majority of runners competing in this year’s Mill Race Marathon, half-marathon and 5K are likely hoping to experience a similar feeling. While only the elite runners are expecting to contend for the titles and cash prizes that go with top-five finishes, the rest have a PR to target.

Ashok Kumar, who ran the marathon in 5:15 two years ago, wants to go under 4:30.

“That’s a very, very big goal because I’m not a fast runner,” Kumar said. “I want to meet that challenge.”

Paliwal’s daughter Radhika is ready for a run at a PR after not feeling well in the 2014 half-marathon. She finished that race in 2:17.

This year, the Purdue sophomore is shooting for a time in the 2:00-2:10 range for 13.1 miles.

“I wanted to beat my record, so I decided to do it again,” she said. “It’s very important because two years ago my timing was really bad, and I didn’t perform well enough during the race. So this time, I want to do it in time. I’m hoping no health problems come up this time.”

A veteran of 15 half-marathons, Kirsten Bouthier decided to try the full marathon last year. This year, she is returning to the more familiar half-marathon.

Bouthier ran her PR of 2:17 about five to 10 years ago. She ran 2:41 in Seymour half-marathon in June, and instead of aiming for the PR, tries to break 2:30 in the half-marathons.

“I’m more interested in just having fun with events, and the time isn’t everything to me,” Bouthier said. “I’m competitive, but the time isn’t the end-all-and-be-all for me. Just being able to do events and have fun with it, meet people and enjoy the events, I love having this hometown event and seeing all the people I know. It’s a blast.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.