Back for more: Defending champion returning for another run

Last year’s Mill Race Marathon went a little better for Bryan Morseman than his first one.

The Bath, New York, resident took a wrong turn and ended up running about 28½ miles in the Inaugural Mill Race Marathon in 2013 — more than 2 miles further than required. As a result, he came away with a third-place finish.

After a year away, Morseman returned for the 2015 Mill Race Marathon and had a much more pleasant experience. He won the race in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 41 seconds.

This year, Morseman is returning to defend his title. He will be the favorite when he takes the starting line on Washington Street the morning of Sept. 24.

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“I’ve actually had good luck there, besides the first year,” Moresman said. “It’s a nice race. They do a good job with that, and I like to be part of races that I feel like I’m welcome there. That’s the No. 1 issue.”

Morseman has won 40 marathons, including nine of the 11 he’s entered this year. The last one was in June — in Coudersport, Pennsylvania.

With a personal-best of 2:19:57, Moresman missed by less than a minute of qualifying for this year’s Olympic Trials. He has qualified for the Boston Marathon, however, and plans to run that race in April.

When he returns to Columbus in 13 days, Morseman hopes to pick up another victory.

“I just want to get out there and do what I do best,” Morseman said. “I like to get our front and push the pace.”

Morseman thinks his time will depend upon the weather.

“I won’t be shocked if I dip under 2:22 or even quicker than that,” Morseman said. “Last year, it was really windy when you get out there by the airport and where there aren’t housing sections. If it’s not too windy, it’s definitely a fast course. If it’s windy, it’s definitely a little slower.”

As of early last week, no other elite runners were entered in the marathon. But Randy Stafford, a member of the organizing committee, said elite runners often register the week of the event.

John Bruinsma of South Bend, who finished fifth in 2:53:50 last year, is entered again this year. Andrew Kaiser, who finished fourth in last year’s half-marathon, is moving up to the marathon.

Meanwhile, only one of the top-10 women’s finishers from last year was entered as of early last week. Claudia Brinkruff of Greenfield finished eighth in 3:14:13.

Two of the top three local finishers from last year’s men’s race are back. Joseph Bell of Columbus finished second among locals and eighth overall in 3:04:19, and Cesar Games of Columbus took third among locals and 29th overall in 3:24:07.

Craig Bolte of Columbus is another local runner who could challenge for a top finish.

Julie Quesenberry of Columbus is the leading returning local women’s runner. She finished fifth among local women and 136th overall last year in 4:18:30.

Favorites for the half-marathon look to be Taylor Eaton of Indianapolis and Sarah Pease of Bloomington.

The fourth Annual Mill Race Marathon and Half-Marathon will start at 7:30 a.m, and the 5K will begin at 8 a.m. As of last week, more than 2,600 runners were entered in those races and the Kids Fun Run, which will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 23.

At a glance

Registration is still available for the Mill Race Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5K at millracemarathon.com

The cost by Sept. 22 is $85 for the marathon, $70 for the half-marathon and $30 for the 5K. Sept. 23 and 24, it’s $95 for the marathon, $80 for the half-marathon and $35 for the 5K.

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