Mill Race Marathon runners hitting a wall of doubt at the halfway point on Columbus’ north side were in for a treat if they kept going.

The Tiptonians, a Columbus band of Cummins engineers who have been charming city residents for about two years, were in full performance mode in an isolated spot along Cunningham Drive at the end of one of the Columbus Municipal Airport runways.

Marathon runners encountered the band on Mile 17, and got to hear the next song on the turnaround as they headed back toward the finish on Mile 20.

It may seem odd to put a pop, rock and alternative band out on the course in a somewhat isolated area. But marathon organizers had a strategy for putting the Tiptonians under a tent in that section of the two-way marathon course.

“We were purposely picked to be out here for the runners to see us twice,” said Richard Bodor, the band’s drummer. “This is the wall for runners — where they want to quit,” Boder said.

Boder, who is friends with Dave Venable, a race planning committee member, said the invitation for the band to perform evolved out of that friendship and Cummins sponsoring the race.

The band of Cummins employees, who have worked for the company from two to 11 years, specializes in music to dance to, the drummer said.

“You never know what we will play,” Boder said. “We want to keep people on their feet.”

That repertoire ranges from today’s pop hits, to country and rap, band members said. Their set list can include music from artists as wide ranging as Snoop Dogg, Neil Diamond, Jason Aldean and Justin Timberlake.

Saturday morning their sound check was to “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band, just after a propeller plane took off from the airport, and the first marathon runners were just reaching the band’s remote location.

Several of the runners offered a thumbs up as they passed by on Mile 17, and some offered a grin on the return trip at Mile 20 as the band continued to play.

The band planned to make a morning-long race of the performance, toasting the morning with cold drinks and caramel-covered doughnuts and bringing a grill to cook hamburgers and hot dogs later in the day.

Band member Ilio Gonzalez noted that they were eating doughnuts in front of marathon runners, but band members pointed out the doughnuts would be gone before the runners passed by.

After a formal moment for the band to toast recently reaching 1,000 likes on Facebook, band members dived into their performance as marathon runners trickled by in the early hours.

Later in the afternoon, the band packed up all its equipment and moved it downtown to the Finish on Fourth after-party where they performed again.

Bodor said most people don’t know that since the band is all engineers, there tends to be a lot of analytical decision-making that is made about set lists, performances and how things are done.

“Because we are engineers, we will argue about stuff because we have a high standard for quality,” he said. “And we always have data to back our positions.”

One of the first decisions the band had to make Saturday morning before the first runner arrived was where to put The Tiptonians banner.

Eventually, after a bit of discussion, the band pulled a truck next to the tent and hung the banner on the vehicle so runners could see it as they completed Mile 17.

“Let’s do a classic Tiptonian thing and be real engineering about it,” Bodor said as the band members laughed.

Where to learn more

To learn more about The Tiptonians, visit

thetiptonians.com/

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.