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When they crossed the finish line, Richard Chelimo and Bryan Morseman stated their cases as to why they should be declared the winner of the inaugural Mill Race Marathon.
Danny Fisher let his performance do the talking.
The 30-year-old Columbus resident won the race in 2 hours, 32 minutes, 51.4 seconds, but wasn’t certain he would be declared the winner until about two hours later.
Chelimo, Morseman and Reuben Kipkemoi met with Race Director Ken Long because they all were led off course by race volunteers.
Chelimo and Morseman both said they would have won the race if they hadn’t been forced to run about two extra miles.
“(Fisher) ran a good race, and he deserves to be the champion,” Long said after the meeting.
Morseman, an Addison, N.Y., resident, and Kenyan natives Chelino and Reuben Kipkemoi were led the wrong way at 11th and Franklin streets about 4½ miles into the 26.2-mile race. Chelimo regained the lead, but was passed by Fisher around the 16-mile mark.
Then, around the 19-mile mark, Chelimo missed another turn and ended up cutting some distance. That put him in front of Fisher, who had correctly made the loop at Columbus Municipal Airport. Fisher then passed Chelimo again around the 20½-mile mark and kept the lead for good.
“The wheels came off about 23 miles,” Fisher said. “I was all about trying to maintain and keep a good lead. It got warm up there by the airport and a little windy, but it’s about running to win the race as opposed to running for a good time.”
Chelimo finished in 2:40:27.1, and Moresman ran 2:41:08.0. They, along with Kipkemoi, who crossed fifth in 2:47:48.4, were compensated the same $1,500 that went to Fisher even though they were disqualified from any official finish.
“I felt like I should have had that money and the win,” Morseman said. “You can put me down for 50th in the results now. I don’t really care.”
“It’s very good, but maybe next year they’ll do better,” Chelimo said. “But they’re good people. I love them, and I like the course.”
Chelimo, Morseman and Kipkemoi were officially disqualified for running off the course and not reentering at the same point. Long said it’s ultimately the runner’s responsibility to know the course.
“Officially it is, but when you have people coming in from New York and Kenya, they don’t know the town,” Long said. “They expect us to make sure that they stay on the right course.”
Fisher, who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville, was running his fourth marathon. He was a little off his personal-best of 2:31:30 he set in the 2011 Illinois Marathon.
“This is better than that (Kentucky Derby win) because it’s my hometown,” Fisher said. “I know a lot of people that I train and coach did well. That beats anything.”
Fisher, who is the endurance coach at Tipton Lakes Athletic Club and an assistant cross-country coach at Columbus North High School, said he could hear the crowd throughout the course, especially at the finish.
“Coming down that stretch, it was deafening with people yelling for you,” Fisher said. “All along the course, people know your name.”
With the disqualifications, Atlee Lambright of Topeka became the official second-place finisher in 2:47:17.6.
Nick Purdy of Brownsburg took third in 2:53:22.7.
There was no controversy on the women’s side. Sarah Ostaszewski, a 22-year-old Indiana University senior from Crown Point, cruised to victory in 3:11:58.2.
“I wasn’t trying to get a certain time, but it seemed like the miles stayed pretty consistent,” Ostaszewski said.
Ostaszewski was running her first marathon.
“I’m kind of shocked,” she said. “I don’t run on a team anymore, so I wasn’t specifically training. I just go out and run. I was thinking it would be great to win it, but I didn’t have any expectations.”
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