Top women’s marathon finishers returning to Mill Race

They like that it’s a flat and fast course, they like the scenery and they like the people.

Those are some of the reasons why three of the top six female finishers in last year’s Mill Race Marathon are returning this year. They’ll be back in town Sept. 23 for the fifth annual event.

“It’s a race I’ll always come back to,” said Trena Roudebush of Indianapolis, last year’s No. 6 female finisher. “I’ve run big-city races, Chicago and Boston. This one, you get a really good feel for the town the way they laid out the course. You have the downtown; you have some rural areas. It’s a fast course. It’s enjoyable across the board.”

Claudia Brinkruff of Greenfield has run the full Mill Race Marathon each of its first four years. Last year, she was the female runner-up to April Woo of Louisville.

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Brinkruff likes the size of the race, the flat course and the weather.

“I like how very well organized the Mill Race is and the fact that it is still a relatively small race,” Brinkruff said. “I try to run either a half or full every month, so this is a great choice for me because of the proximity in which I live to Columbus. I also like that the run occurs at the end of September, which typically means good running temperatures.”

As of last week, Brinkruff, Roudebush and Sharon Young of Batesville were the only men’s or women’s top-10 marathon or half-marathon finishers from 2016 who had officially registered for the 2017 marathon or half-marathon. However, many top runners register late for races, and that has been the trend in the previous Mill Race events.

A certified personal trainer, Young began running about 10 years ago after she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. She started running marathons in Texas and has continued since moving to Batesville.

Young runs several marathons a year, so she trains on hills. She ran a personal-best 3 hours, 21 minutes, 16 seconds in the Chicago Marathon last October, two weeks after Mill Race, where she was the No. 5 women’s finisher.

Young trains some of her clients to run the Mill Race Half-Marathon and thinks it’s a great place to run a first half-marathon or a personal record because of the flat course.

“I like the Mill Race Marathon because it is a scenic run, an I love running through the neighborhoods and how many of the residents stand out there and cheer you on,” Young said. “They stand out there for hours and keep on cheering. That is just awesome. I also love the after party downtown. It’s a really fun time for everyone.”

Last year, Brinkruff ran 12 marathons — one in each month — in 11 states to celebrate turning 40. She does not train differently for each race and said she sometimes doesn’t even look at a course ahead of time to see how hilly it may be.

Brinkruff runs six to seven miles most days, with a long run of 10 to 15 miles on a weekend day, plus an “Insanity” workout two to three times a week to help with speed and leg strength. She ran a personal-best 3:11:50 in last year’s Mill Race Marathon and hopes to break 3:10 this year.

Roudebush has run 31 marathons. Mill Race will be her 32nd, and the very next day, she will do her 33rd, the Back On My Feet Marathon in Indianapolis, to raise money for transitioning homeless.

Roudebush lives and works in downtown Indy and does most of her training around White River State Park, the canal, Eagle Creek and Broad Ripple, so she doesn’t do much hill work. Her personal record is 3:25:50 at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November 2015, and her best Mill Race Marathon was 3:32:39 last year.

“Depending on the weather, I’m going to shoot for a PR,” Roudebush said. “If I can break 3:25, it would be a beautiful day.”

At a glance

Top finishers in last year’s marathon and half-marathon:

Men’s marathon

1. Japhet Kipkoech;Louisville;2:23:08

2. Suleman Abrar;Morristown, N.J.;2:26:43

3. Alexander Cushman;Madison, Wis.;2:29:03

4. Bryan Morseman;Bath, N.Y.;2:30:15

5. Geoffrey Kiprotich;Toledo, Ohio;2:34:44

Women’s marathon

1. April Woo;Louisville;3:06:48

2. Claudia Brinkuff;Greenfield;3:11:50

3. Chelsea Hoffmaster;Cincinnati;3:24:26

4. Abby Petter;Louisville;3:27:16

5. Sharon Young;Batesville;3:30:31

Men’s half-marathon

1. Micah Uemura;Indianapolis;1:05:32

2. Pius Myantika;Louisville;1:05:54

3. Al Escalera;Terre Haute;1:08:53

4. Julius Kiptoo;Toledo, Ohio;1:09:30

5. Madison Roeder;Indianapolis;1:09:53

Women’s half-marathon

1. Aurelia Rutto;Terre Haute;1:18:18

2. Rachael Brewer;Tuscola, Ill.;1:19:01

3. Sarah Pease;Bloomington;1:19:32

4. Rhiannon Johns;Indianapolis;1:21:43

5. Rebecca Walter;city not available;1:22:09