As a smiling sun beams down on Mill Race Park, a single runner emerges from the covered bridge.
That’s how Cole Medve pictures the Kids Fun Run, which will kick off the Mill Race Marathon weekend at 6 p.m. Sept. 26.
His artwork — tops among artists from elementary grades — was chosen as the official Kids Fun Run poster and will be reprinted on T-shirts and promotional materials.
“I feel famous,” said Cole, who entered the competition as a sixth-grader from Southside Elementary School.
“It’s my second art contest I’ve won so far, and I thought it was pretty cool.”
His was one of more than 100 entries into the Mill Race Marathon Poster Contest, organized by the Columbus Area Arts Council, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. and the C4 Columbus Area Career Connection.
Kristen Perry, who entered as a junior at Columbus North High School, designed the winning event poster in the middle/high school category. It will be provided to each race participant and sold as a limited-edition print at the Health Expo in The Commons.
Her design incorporates a runner’s legs, midstride, with the iconic bright red Robert N. Stewart suspension bridge framing the Bartholomew County Courthouse in the background.
The quality and volume of poster-contest submissions — with nearly 200 submitted — improved this year, said Arthur Smith, marketing and media director for the Columbus Area Arts Council.
That’s because art and graphics teachers had more time to prepare and build the contest into their curriculum, Smith said.
He said judges — including Mill Race Marathon organizers, arts educators and Arts Council representatives — spent two hours on a Friday afternoon in May scoring the entries through several rounds.
“This year, because students lived through the first marathon and a lot of kids participated in the weekend, you could just tell that in the submissions,” Smith said. “They had a stronger background and knowledge of the event.”
Cole said he does not like running and did not participate in last year’s Fun Run. He probably won’t run this year, either.
“I was probably inspired by my art teacher at Southside because she helped me know what to draw,” he said.
He said he worked hard on the creation, made of crayon, marker, colored pencil and paint. It took him three entire art classes to finish, and he found the hardest part to be the covered bridge.
Although Perry did not participate in last year’s races, she said the environment inspired her Adobe Illustrator creation. She wanted to do something different, and she wanted to incorporate recognizable Columbus icons.
She entered the contest as part of her Visual Communications 2 class at North, which focuses on using the elements of design to create effective and aesthetically pleasing graphic designs.
Perry hopes to pursue a career in art, although she’s not sure what field.
Smith said the art programs at both the high school and elementary school levels are strong, so tapping into that talent was a better option than hiring a graphic designer.
“Organizers wanted a way to involve kids in the community,” he said.