FACES IN THE CROWD: Runners take to the course in the Mill Race Marathon

There was a big change in this year’s Mill Race Marathon, but it was a good change.

It was all pretty normal.

In the 10th installment of Columbus’ signature athletic event, which showcases the city’s architecture, downtown streetscape and picturesque neighborhood streets, runners were able to soak it all in with cool temperatures and family and friends cheering them on from the downtown starting line.

There was an entirely new course setup, which minimized runners interaction with busy city streets, but the race still went over the iconic Stewart bridge and near other well-known landmarks.

It has been nearly three years since runners could congregate on the marathon starting line. Marathon organizers made this year’s race a “group start,” all three race cohorts went across the start at 7:30 a.m.

The entire Mill Race Marathon was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the 5K and the half marathon were still contested, but the full marathon was canceled due to not having enough volunteers.

“Things went really well today,” race Director Randy Stafford said of the overall event. “I talked to a number of runners, they like the redesign of the new course. They love the community, and the support has been impressive for all the people that are out on the course.”

Will Cadwell of Covington, Kentucky won the men’s marathon race in 2:29:41, and Sarah Higgens of Los Angeles, but a Greenwood native, won the women’s marathon race in 2:56:54.

A total of approximately 2,200 runners combined in the full marathon, half marathon and 5K, with more than 90% of those registered coming from Indiana. There was 169 runners who completed the marathon, 992 for the half marathon and 1,015 completed the 5K run and walk.

Saturday’s weather was nearly ideal for distance running, with the heat and humidity of earlier in the week gone, and just a hint of the earlier showers that arrived Friday night into Saturday.

The temperatures were in the high 50s and low 60s for the majority of the race with no threat of rain. Race organizers said that along with the comfortable temperatures in the 60s, there were no serious medical issues due to heat.

For the first time since the pandemic began, COVID restrictions and protocols were not issued, but there were masks available if volunteers, workers or racers wanted to wear one.

“The weather for the runners has been perfect,” Stafford said. “It’s cool enough that there’s no heat problems for many of the runners. It’s easier for them to run within themselves and finish.”

For more on this story, see Sunday’s Republic.

Mike Wolanin | The Republic
People cross the Robert N. Stewart bridge during the Mill Race Marathon in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Mike Wolanin | The Republic
People cross the Robert N. Stewart bridge during the Mill Race Marathon in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Mike Wolanin | The Republic
Runners and walkers hit a water station during the Mill Race Marathon in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.