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We are an addictive race.
Americans can get hooked on gambling, alcohol, drugs.
Or a healthy lifestyle. It is, after all, the human race.
Perhaps the scene in Columbus always has been the same, people of all ages out in the morning, running, walking, biking.
And maybe I’ve just noticed it more since it was announced that Columbus would host the inaugural Mill Race Marathon on Sept. 28.
Then again, this marathon thing might just be stirring the fitness pot. It sure seems like there are more folks out and about.
Before news of the marathon, I didn’t really notice all the water jugs placed at various key points around town. First, I think it is awesome we live in a place where those jugs don’t grow legs and walk off. Next, just the sight of those water buckets gives a little tug at your brain. Why am I not out there doing something?
Now it seems I can’t drive across town without seeing someone with ridiculously low body fat sweating up a storm while pounding the pavement. At one corner it is a bunch of junior high kids, and at the next, it’s the Olympians or the Bull Dogs.
There’s the husband and wife senior cycling duo who zip past my house every afternoon. In the morning at Mill Race Park, I drive past an elderly lady whose pace might be slow but whose determination to beat this aging process is off the charts.
Then there are those women running down the streets pushing a baby stroller or a double. Think those kids are going to get a heaping helping of fitness once they can walk?
It’s enough to drive you to drink ... Gatorade.
Don’t get me wrong, runners do have fun. On the Mill Race Marathon website, it promises that “Downtown is one big beer garden” after the event. Those of us who are only semi-fit can appreciate that one.
Beyond the whole party atmosphere, though, you can’t shake the notion that this race really has raised health awareness in our community. Of the 3,521 participants who were signed up for the event on Thursday, the lion’s share were Bartholomew County residents.
Eventually, this event is going to attract a much-larger percentage of out-of-towners. That will be worth its weight in energy bars when it comes to national exposure. Over time, that translates to more residents and businesses locating here.
But we need to give a tip of our hat to the major race sponsors: Cummins, MainSource Bank and Columbus Regional Health, who told us that their goal for hosting such a huge event was to promote health and wellness in the community.
It’s easy to be cynical when larger companies push their ideas on a community. We always are searching for an alternative motive.
In this case, the proof just ran past on 22nd Street or passed you in Mill Race Park or dodged you on the People Trails.
Better yet, when you see so many people preparing for the race, there is this overwhelming feeling in your chest that you, too, should do something healthy.
If that has happened, then we have one word for all the folks that put this amazingly difficult event together.
Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 379-5632.
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