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Column: Republic takes running start at marathon

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Today marks the start of something big.

Two things, actually. And each is going to last awhile.

One is the launch of our weekly marathon page, The Rundown, which appears on the back page of Sports for 12 straight weeks.

Instead of winning races, which marathon runners aspire to do, the second opportunity that debuts in today’s edition is a chance to win much-coveted tickets to an Aug. 23 “Duck Dynasty” event, bringing four of the stars of the highly rated A&E Network program to the Columbus North High School gymnasium. The Republic contest will run for six weeks.

The Rundown

Each Sunday leading up to the Sept. 27 Mill Race Marathon, we will provide runners and non-runners alike with information that should help them get ready for the race, which last year drew nearly 5,000 participants and an estimated 15,000 people to Columbus to take in the events.

Features in The Rundown will include a weekly runner’s diary, which begins next week; a weekly marathon question-and-answer feature; and a brief runner’s profile, Why I Run, which this week reveals why attorney Kelly Benjamin is lacing up her running shoes.

The weekly runner’s diary will be from both an experienced runner, Joe Bell, and a relative newcomer, Leslie Rude. Their different approaches should provide a nice contrast to each other that will be helpful as runners map out training regimens that fit themselves individually.

If you’re not a runner but still want to be a part of the marathon experience, we will provide regular information updates for you as well — such as ways to serve as a volunteer, or keep you up to date on emerging details for the post-race Finish on Fourth community celebration.

Sports editor Jay Heater and news reporter Michelle Sokol, with support from our staff photographers, form our marathon-coverage team leading up to Sept. 27. They’re ready. Are you?

‘Duck Dynasty’ contest

Now if you think long-distance runners are serious, wait until you get a sense of how intense fans of the six-year “Duck Dynasty” television show can be.

They will be on a mission for the next six weeks to spot quotes and a photo from television show star Si Robertson, alerting contestants where they can find contest rules and entry blanks for each weekly contest.

More than half of the seats for the Aug. 23 appearance have been sold to see and hear Robertson and three other “Duck Dynasty” TV stars at the Columbus North High School gymnasium, which in part will be turned into a Louisiana duck pond.

A what?

Yes, event promoter Blank Slate Productions has hired a firm to build a makeshift pond at the facility for “An Evening With Duck Dynasty.”

The Republic has built something of its own — our ticket-giveaway promotion, allowing readers to win tickets each Sunday.

One winner will be selected at random each week, with winners from the first five Sundays receiving one pair of tickets. The prize for the contest’s final week, Aug. 10, is four tickets to the show.

Here’s how it works.

Search the Sunday newspaper for a Si Robertson photo and his quote — most of them off-the-wall by anyone’s standards.

Use the entry form to fill in your name, age, full address including ZIP code; a daytime phone number and check the box to indicate whether you are a Republic subscriber. Participants must be at least 18 years old to enter.

Place your entry in an envelope and mail or bring to: The Republic, 333 Second St., Columbus, IN 47201. The first weekly entry deadline is 4 p.m. Friday. Place your entry in an envelope and write “Duck Dynasty tickets” on the envelope.

It’s as easy as shooting fish in a barrel — or wild ducks in a swamp.

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