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Theresa Harden had planned to run in the half marathon Saturday. But because of an injury, she spent her morning cheering on other runners in the Mill Race Marathon.
The Columbus resident staked out a spot at the neighborhood party at Columbus Signature Academy Lincoln Campus, where students, teachers, parents and neighbors made sure everyone who came by felt a big shot of support and enthusiasm.
Harden stood near the corner of Fifth and Pearl streets where runners in the half and full marathons began running past the four-mile marker at about 8:30 a.m.
For the next hour, a stream of runners and walkers quickly passed the school.
“They come around the corner looking tired, and then they hear the music, and you see their faces light up,” Harden said. “It’s energizing for them.”
Students arrived before daylight to set up and to be ready to greet race participants with balloons, upbeat music, handmade noise makers, whistles, cheers and high-fives.
Maybe one of the loudest cheers of the day came for the school’s principal, Chad Phillips, who ran in the half-marathon.
The last two walkers passing by the school were met with cheers that were just as loud as the hundreds of others who raced past earlier in the morning.
In fact, students walked up to the walkers to make sure they were feeling all right, or see if they needed anything other than the water and bananas they were handing out.
Suzi Bruin, a project leader at Lincoln, said the sixth-grade “I was here” group organized the block party, where they sold fruit and other healthy snacks. Money will go toward refurbishing the school’s playground.
Other block parties were planned throughout the community, including ones at McKinley and Gladstone avenues, 16th Street and Home Avenue, and McClure Road and 10th Street.
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