The closest Mill Race Marathon finish in the event’s five-year history yielded a dueling sprint to the finish and winning margin of three seconds.
Peter Kosgei of Grand Rapids, Michigan, outkicked defending champion and fellow Kenya native Japhet Kipkoech to win in 2 hours, 33 minutes, 33 seconds.
“He ran 2:20 in Mexico, and I was expecting him to go around 2:20 or even better. But when I heard that he was just a little under 1:30 at Mile 15, I thought maybe 2:25 to 2:26,” said Kosgei’s coach, Ruben Henderson.
Henderson had talked to Kosgei about making his move at the 18-mile mark in the 26.2-mile race.
“I told him to park it with one of the guys, and if there was a group, start dropping guys,” Henderson said. “He got with (Kipkoech) at Mile 18, and I said, ‘OK, it’s time to put the hammer down to get some separation.’ But they both battled it out … and he never did get the separation.”
Meanwhile, Lauren Jackson of Augusta, New Jersey, was the first female finisher. Jackson is on a quest to run a marathon in every state, and this was No. 23 on her list.
Jackson, who ran collegiately at Rutgers, has won marathons in Maine and in New Jersey. She was making her first visit to Indiana.
“I thought the course was great, great crowd support, great sense of community,” Jackson said. “I had a really good time.”
Jackson finished in 3:11:29. Laurah Lukin of Cincinnati finished second in 3:13:15.
“I’m happy that I was able to hold it all together,” Jackson said. “I went out at my goal pace, but I’ve had a cold all week, so I could feel it in my legs. Then, I got cramps in my calves the last eight miles, so the heat just added onto that. I ran about 10 minutes slower than I wanted to, but I’ll take the win.”
An inspired effort
Jared Campbell of Franklin won the half-marathon. The former Franklin High School and William and Mary runner finished in 1:17:25.
Campbell wasn’t running for himself on Saturday. He was running in memory of Kylie Kierta, a family friend from Franklin who died unexpectedly last weekend.
“This is for her,” Campbell said. “I had been planning (on running Saturday) for awhile, but after I found that out, it meant a lot more to me. This is all for Kylie.”
Zane Yeager, a Columbus native now living in Bloomington, finished second in 1:18:46. Malachi Henry of Columbus was third in 1:21:01.
Rachael Brewer of Tuscola, Illinois, was the top female half-marathon finisher in 1:20:17. The former Illinois State runner finished second last year and ran a minute slower this year.
“The conditions weren’t great,” Brewer said. “It was pretty hot and humid out there, so I just kind of tried to find my rhythm and do what I could.”
Northside takes 5Ks
The 5K race had a Northside Middle School flavor, with eighth-grader Matt Newell winning the race and teacher and cross-country coach Jordan Callison becoming the top female finisher.
Newell, who finished second last year, ran 18:33. Yuma Ishikawa of Greenwood finished second in 18:35.
“I knew I had a chance, but I thought that there might be a few people who might be able to beat me,” Newell said.
Callison is a Fort Wayne native and former University of Southern Indiana runner. She now lives in Bloomington.
Callison ran her 5K in 20:09. One of her pupils, Brianna Newell, finished second in 21:11.
“I know the more stiff competition was in the half (marathon), but training-wise, I’m just not ready for that right now with coaching,” Callison said. “It’s a big commitment. I just came out here to run with the kids this morning. Racing with the kids was a cool experience because normally, I’m just cheering on the sidelines for them.”