The Mill Race Marathon is an important event to a company with global operations, and has had a significant impact on its culture and commitment to healthier lifestyles.

While this is certainly true of Cummins Inc., the company that sparked the idea of the annual race and plans and organizes it, it’s also true of a company located in Bartlett, Illinois, a little west of Chicago.

Senior Flexonics, a supplier to Cummins for more than 20 years, has sponsored the marathon annually since its inception four years ago, and each year some of its employees travel to Columbus to run in either the marathon, half-marathon or 5K. The greater impact is that the marathon event was a key factor in Senior Flexonics starting a company wellness program, said Joe Mockus, Senior Flexonics vice president and general manager.

When the company learned of the inaugural marathon in 2013, employees wanted to participate. That year, the company chartered a bus and brought 53 race participants. About 20 participated in the second and third years, and about 30 are expected to run in the races this year, Mockus said.

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“The Mill Race Marathon really lit a fire with folks here,” Mockus said.

Mockus noted that the 2013 Mill Race marathon marked the first time he had run a 5K race. This year, he’s competed in several half-marathons and plans to come to Columbus again.

The company has a running club called Speedy Flexonics, Mockus said. It involves employees who don’t get to interact much or at all during the workday who can learn more about one another through running.

“It’s been pretty neat to break down some of the artificial barriers,” Mockus said.

Employees can earn points toward prizes by participating in wellness activities, such as running races, just as they can for meeting health goals established through the wellness program, Mockus said.

Senior Flexonics contracts with a physical trainer/massage therapist who comes to the company’s Bartlett office twice a week. One day she gives 20-minute massages to employees, the other she leads cardiovascular training classes, said Roy Pinzon, the company’s human resources director.

Company employees also are eligible for a discount at the parks district’s gym, Pinzon added.

Mockus said he’s seen a positive impact on employee morale with the wellness program and related healthy activities.

Rick Bowman, a member of the marathon organizing committee who works at Cummins, said the level of participation by Senior Flexonics and the impact the marathon has had on the company are impressive.

“They are truly using the marathon to promote healthy lifestyles and that is one of the key reasons that the Mill Race Marathon was started. We are hopeful that their story will inspire other organizations to do the same thing,” Bowman said.

This week's marathon events

Health and Fitness Expo: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, The Commons, 300 Washington St.

Kids Fun Run: 6 p.m. Friday, Mill Race Park, Fifth and Lindsey Streets

Mill Race Marathon and Half Marathon: 7:30 a.m. Saturday, start and finish on Washington Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.

5K Run/Walk: 8 a.m. Saturday, start and finish on Washington Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.

Finish on Fourth After Party: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Fourth and Washington Streets near The Commons.

Ready to run? Register at millracemarathon.com/register

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.