Monday, October 14, 2013

Great weather, lots of runners and a welcoming community bless the fourth annual Iron Horse Marathon

Story and photos by Holly Brucken
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The sun illuminated Midway Sunday morning as the city welcomed the fourth annual Iron Horse Half Marathon, bringing runners together to enjoy a scenic 13.1-mile race through the city and surrounding area.

Midway’s beauty was a draw for many participants, including Carolyn Karageorges and Naomi Sayles. They chose to run the Iron Horse Half Marathon after seeing an ad at the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, where they live. 

“It’s supposed to be a pretty run,” said Karageorges, explaining why she decided to participate in this particular half marathon. She and Sayles agreed the race lived up to its reputation.

“It was beautiful,” said Sayles.

The race, hosted by John’s Run/Walk Shop in Lexington, started on South Brand Street, took runners out to Spring Station, back through town and on to Weisenberger Mill, before returning to the finish line at South Brand Street.

Race coordinator Chuck Griffis said the Iron Horse Half Marathon was put together to reflect “what we like to do,” going out into the country.

The picturesque course was not an easy one, due to small valleys created by creeks and underground drainage. This landscape posed a challenge to many runners.

“I would encourage faster runners to do it,” said Sayles, who noted the toughness of the course.

The landscape did not scare away Geoff Parker of Lexington. “I heard that it was gonna be hilly,” said Parker, who was participating in his first half marathon.

“I love the scenery,” he said, admiring the beautiful morning. “I’m happy that I finished it. It was fun training for and I’m proud of myself for doing it.”

The top finisher was 24-year-old Josh Nadzam of Lexington, who ran the half marathon in one hour, 16 minutes and 24 seconds, a pace of five minutes and 50 seconds per mile. Josh Wolf from Shepherdsville, also 24, finished second in 1:17:55. His pace was 5:55 per mile.

Betsy Laski, a 30-year-old from Lexington, was the first female finisher. She ran the race 1:29:23, a 6:49 per-mile pace. Another Lexington resident, 34-year-old Elizabeth Salt, was the second fastest woman, in a time of 1:30:54.
After collecting their medals, racers congregated with family and friends in front of Darlin’ Jean’s,
walking around the town center and enjoying music, fellowship and a beautiful, sunny day.
Organizers said 1,500 entrants pre-registered for the race, and an additional 27 people were allowed to participate unofficially as part of training or charity groups. Of this number, 1,252 completed the race, according to www.TimingSpot.com, where the official results are posted.

The Iron Horse Half Marathon was open to runners of all levels and included a variety of age groups ranging from 14 to 74. The race results and winners of each age group can be found at www.ironhorsehalfmarathon.com/results.

Participants came not only to enjoy the race, but for the experience, which includes everything from the course to fellowship. “These types of things are changing,” Griffis said.“People are there for a total experience, to join in with other people.”

The sense of fellowship was not limited to race participants and their families. Residents could be seen watching the race from their front porches. Midway Christian Church served a pancake breakfast for spectators during the race, bringing participants and citizens together. Several local businesses sponsored the half marathon, including the Midway School Bakery.

Claire McCarthy, Midway resident and owner of Celtic Trends, took advantage of the race to open her shop early.

“I don’t normally open until noon on a Sunday,” said McCarthy, who opened her store at 8 a.m.

“It’s fantastic,” she said, commending the race and the people it brought to Midway. “Of course, the weather was great,” she added, attributing the day’s mild temperatures and sunny skies to the date, earlier than Previous Iron Horse Marathons.

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