Mill Race Marathon Runners Delayed by Train…Yes, A Train
by John Paul Bigouette
Runners have numerous things to consider at the starting line of a race. Proper pacing, hydration, gel intake, and weather conditions are important factors for race day. However, one unexpected situation occurred at the 2nd annual Mills Race Marathon and half marathon in Columbus, IN.
According to the Columbus based newspaper The Republic, an Indiana-Louisville railroad train unexpectedly arrived onto the racecourse after the one-mile mark. The lead group was able to bypass the front of the train before it came to the crossing.
Local runner, Joseph Bell was in the lead pack at the time of the commotion. “After the one mile mark, I noticed a helicopter hovering low overhead and heard a train whistle coming from over my left shoulder” said Bell. “I started to measure our timing and 4-5 of us (runners), stepped on the gas to beat (the train). We crossed the tracks with about 300 feet to spare along with some expletives.”
At 8:10 am, The Republic reported that a train came to a halt on the racecourse. Local police attempted to ensure their safety however, numerous runners can be seen going around and through the train in the video below. It was reported that as local police stopped a group of runners, others would continue on to and through the next boxcar down. According to reports, the train blew a long horn and started to move forward as runners attempted to continue to cross. Local police were able to secure the scene and the train was moved off the tracks safely. Columbus Police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Harris was quoted as saying “no one was injured and the southbound train was not suppose to be on the track at that time.”
The train was unable to stop Geoffrey Kiprotich, 35, from Toledo, OH from crossing the finish line first in the 2014 edition of the marathon. Kiprotich completed the course in 2:26:33 after crossing the halfway point in 1:11: 34. Sarah Overpeck, 31, from Indianapolis, IN was the top female finisher in 11th with a time of 3:04:44. In the half marathon, Patrick Cheptoek, 28, from Bowling Green, KY was the overall winner in a time of 66:15. Emmy Chepkirui, 26, from Hebron, OH took the women’s title in 77:32.