Sure, it was beautiful weather early Saturday morning, but all those people in shorts at the downtown farmer’s market weren’t just trying to get a tan.
You know the ones. They passed you on the street, running in one direction, then they passed you coming back an hour later in the other direction.
You had time to eat a blueberry crêpe and pick up a dozen ears of corn, and they had covered nine miles.
People literally run up to the farmers market, and around it. They ride bikes there as well ... just check out the bicycle valet parking.
Healthy people, healthy food, healthy community.
I’m sure people were running and biking before this past September’s first Mill Race Marathon, but there are more now. It’s a fact.
Between the Columbus Running Club and the beginners’ running class taught by Pat Pierce that leaves from Yes Cinema on Saturday mornings, more than 200 runners were navigating the streets shortly after 7 a.m.
It’s impressive to see.
I don’t get a chance to check out such a scene because during the school year, we’re at the office late on Friday night. Any alarm that rings at my house before 9 a.m. Saturday gets crushed with a ball-peen hammer.
It’s different in the summer, though. I did wake up at 6 a.m., only to find that it’s kind of dark at that time. I felt like an explorer getting a first look at the Northern Lights.
Heading downtown, I encountered my first runners. Perhaps it was coffee-induced, but they had the energy of a second-grade classroom on Halloween.
They were bouncy, smiling and talking fast. It was a scene straight from Ben Franklin’s early-to-bed, early-to-rise notebook.
I’m not sure about wealthy, but the healthy and wise parts were being represented big time.
It’s all rather contagious, if you don’t fight the healthy bug with its anecdote ... late night partying on Friday. If you actually can get out of bed and get downtown, I guarantee you will take the first step toward lower blood pressure and bigger calf muscles.
There is no way, and I mean no way, you can exist in this environment without taking part in some shape or form. It’s like you’ve been living in a black-and-white world, and Dorothy throws open the door to Oz.
The sponsors of the Mill Race Marathon have helped to kick that door open, and now it’s just a matter of us going through and exploring. Chances are, if you check it out, you won’t come back. At least not without being changed in a positive way.
Don’t take my word for it. Just go. If you have the courage to ask a runner about walking, or running or biking, you are going to receive an invitation to join the group, or in Columbus, I should say join the crowd, or the masses.
On Saturday, 1,777 runners were signed up for this year’s marathon, half-marathon and 5K. They are just starting to gear up for the race, so it’s obvious there will be another impressive turnout.
If you still don’t know a lot about the event, you can get information at millracemarathon.com. You also can read about the event in every The Republic’s Sunday sports section between now and the Sept. 27 race.
But don’t just read about running, walking or biking. Check it out. Get involved.
Just make sure you do it a little before or a little after 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
At 7 a.m. on the dot, I was interviewing some runners who had gathered in a downtime parking lot, and local fitness instructor Shayla Holtkamp yelled “Go!”
The runners were joyous, excited, friendly. And in about 10 seconds, they were gone.
Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 379-5632.