For the past three months, Luke Inman of North Vernon and Ritika Shah of Columbus have taken turns writing about their training for this year’s Mill Race Marathon and half-marathon.
On Saturday morning, they both finished the half-marathon. They arrived at that race from different points on the racing spectrum.
Inman had run the previous three Mill Race Marathons, finishing 15th, seventh and fourth. But after training for another full marathon this year, he made an 11th-hour switch to the half-marathon.
“I had debated on switching from the full to the half all week long,” Inman said. “I questioned my endurance and was not sure I was capable of performing at a high level for 26.2 miles. It was a tough decision, but ultimately, it was the right choice for me to do the half. I did not want to risk injury, and temps were suppose to be in the high 70s, low 80s. I wanted to beat the heat.”
Story continues below gallery
The skies remained overcast for much of the morning, allowing for comfortable running for most of the competitors, especially those in the half-marathon.
Inman finished 23rd in 1 hour, 25 minutes, 12 seconds. He ran the second half of the 13.1-mile race faster than the first half, but still was about 10 minutes off his personal best.
“I obviously wish I could have ran the full marathon; however, it pays off to be smart about running,” Inman said. “Overall it was a joyous experience, and I am pleased with how race day went. I will live to race another day.”
Meanwhile, Shah was running in her first half-marathon. Her first goal was to finish, and her second goal was to come in under 3 hours.
Shah met that goal, finishing in 2:51:34.
“I think the energy pulled me through all the way, from volunteers cheering us on to all the people who stood out of their houses,” Shah said. “It was just incredible energy.”
Shah’s parents drove in from Toronto to surprise her and watch the race. Ritika also credited her finish to her ability to run alongside Annie Barnhorst — whom she had met through Columbus Young Professionals — throughout Saturday’s race.
The longest Shah had run before Saturday was 10 or 11 miles. She injured her knee three weeks ago, which made her cancel a 12-mile training run.
Shah, who started running with a fitness objective, said she has lost about 8 or 9 pounds since beginning to train for the half-marathon.
“More than that, I just feel more toned, and I’m more active,” Shah said. “That’s one of the things I aimed for, and I achieved that. I’m going to keep the training strong. I love exercising now.”