Friends come together to run half marathon

Eight girls who were friends in high school, went their separate ways to different colleges after graduating in 1996, and discovered a love for running as adults all came together to run the Mill Race half-marathon on Saturday.

Columbus North High School graduates Natalie (Gaskill) Lapish, Jacki (Kelley) Mann, Sarah (McGovern) Turner, Jen (Brand) Mann, Kelly (Crimmins) Sharpe, Ashleih (Griffin) Cheshire and Erin (Coriden) Kendall and Columbus East High School graduate Alison (Ransdell) Eagleman all played various sports in high school, but only three were cross-country runners.

“We were all athletic in high school,” Lapish said.

Since then, the eight women have combined to run more than 150 half-marathons, more than 30 full marathons, five 5oK races, one 50-mile race and three Boston Marathon qualifiers. They’ve also combined to complete more than 30 sprint triathlons, several Olympic-distance triathlons, more than 15 half-Ironman and five full Ironman triathlons.

Sharpe, who admitted she hated running in high school, has done the most long-distance races of the group with numerous half-marathons, 10 full marathons, one 50-mile race, five 50K races and countless triathlons, including five full Ironman evnts.

“All the long distance really started after college,” Kendall said. “This is the first one for everybody to run together, but we’ve had pockets where different people have run different races together.”

Remembering Luke Poindexter

At least one runner in the half-marathon did most of the 13.1 miles while pushing his grandson in a stroller.

Jamie Estep, the father of the girlfriend of the late Luke Poindexter, ran with Luke Poindexter and Alexia Estep’s son Gunner for most of Saturday’s Mill Race half marathon.

Ted Schultz | The Republic

Jamie Estep is the father of Alexia Estep, whose boyfriend, Luke Poindexter, a former three-sport athlete at Columbus East who was killed while working for a delivery service in Indianapolis last October. Jamie Estep wore a T-shirt with Poindexter’s picture while running and pushing Luke Poindexter and Alexia’s son, 10-month-old Gunner James Poindexter.

“I trained all summer long,” Jamie Estep said. “The farthest I ran with him was nine miles. We got to seven today, and he started fussing a little bit, and I had to pass him off to my wife. I picked him back up a little after 12 (miles).”

A near-miss for Holley

Josh Holley, the local runner who became one of only a handful of Special Olympians ever to qualify for the Boston Marathon, has his sights on the World Major Marathons.

Holley, who is entered in next month’s Chicago Marathon, was hoping to add the London Marathon to his list of World Majors. However, his half-marathon time of 1 hour, 24 minutes, 19 seconds on Saturday was just short of the 1:23:37 he needed to become a provisional qualifier.

Holley ran with Nate Sink of Upper Arlington, Ohio, as a preparation for Chicago, where Sink, along with Malachi Henry and Kasey Coleman, will be running with him.

Former stars run half, 5K

Two local athletes who recently starred at Indiana University and spent time in pro training camps in their respective sports were part of Saturday’s events.

Ali Patberg, the 2015 Miss Basketball from Columbus North and an All-Big Ten basketball player for the Hoosiers, ran her first half-marathon. She finished 19th out of 416 women in 1:42:25.

Harry Crider, the 2016 Mr. Football winner for offensive linemen from Columbus East and an honorable mention All-Big Ten football player at IU, ran the 5K. He finished third in the 20-24-year-old age group in 25:51.