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Perhaps it was one of the charms of the Mill Race Race that now has faded into history as the Cummins Marathon takes its place next year.
Jill Vance, a 31-year-old from Bedford, approached Melissa Teat of Columbus to congratulate her for winning the 5K.
“You came out of nowhere,” Vance said.
Then Teat informed Bedford that she was running in the 15K event.
“That is kind of intimidating,” Vance said. “She ran three times as far and out-kicked me. She did an awesome job.”
The good news for Vance, who was 11th overall in the 5K in 21:19.05, was that she did, indeed, win the 5K event.
“I started running two years ago to lose weight,” she said.
Teat, 26, is a veteran, having competed at Emory University of Atlanta and now pointed toward the Boston Marathon. She crushed the women’s 15K field in 1:06.13.55 and was 19th overall.
“To be honest, it was kind of boring,” she said. “My training partner and I were running all by ourselves. Then these 5K people come out of nowhere and they are all fresh. But, really, it was probably good for us.”
The influx of fresh runners ... the 5K started after the 15K and shared part of the course ... prompted Teat to pick up the pace. “I’m training, but I’m not that fit,” she said.
Joshua Knight of Columbus obviously was fit. The 36-year-old pulled away from the 15K men’s field to win in 55:48.10.
“This is the first time I won this race,” he said. “I was second last year.”
He won the race just in time as there won’t be another opportunity. He said it was “kind of cool” to win the last Mill Race Race.
So what was different for Knight this year?
“Danny Fisher wasn’t here,” he said.
Fisher won the 2011 15K by almost five minutes over Knight.
Knight said he was kind of sad that the Mill Race Race has ended. “This course is just Columbus,” he said. “I really liked this run.”
He said he hasn’t decided yet if he will run in the Cummins Marathon in 2012.
Although he had a comfortable margin of victory, Knight was pushed by Columbus’ Tim Proctor, who finished second at 56:32.75. “He was starting to close on me,” Knight said of Proctor.
While Proctor was making up ground after the halfway point of the race, Knight had forged too big a lead. “At Mile 5 I thought he might be coming back to me,” Proctor said. “But I would have had to close 10 seconds a mile, so I was thinking more about conserving my position.”
Proctor said he enjoys the race and its purpose, to raise funds for Healthy Communities. “And when you run, you go through part of town where people come outside their houses to watch,” he said.
Even so, he said he was excited to see Columbus get a marathon. “My ambition will be to run the full marathon next year,” he said. “That would be my first one.
“At least, that’s the plan.”
Tom Webster won the 5K in 17:46.40 and Andrew Bunton was second in 18:35.20.
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