By Matt McGowan
The 18th annual Arnold 5K Pump and Run was one of the 60 plus athletic events held during the 30th annual Arnold Sports Festival, which is billed as "The Largest Fitness Expo in the World". Arnold Schwarzenegger was on hand again this year to start the race. Governor Schwarzenegger said the "The Pump and Run is a true test of one's fitness as it combines both strength and endurance."
With over 975 athletes registered for the Arnold 5K Pump and Run from thirty-two States, Washington D.C. and Canada, this event is the largest of its' kind in the World. The race started on High Street at the north end of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, ran towards downtown, by the Nationwide Arena, around Goodale Park, through the Short North, North Market area, and the Arena District before, finishing on the north side of the Convention Center.
Before the runners started their run they spent the morning weighing in and bench pressing to reduce their running times. The lifting rules were: Men 39 and under bench pressed 100% of their weight, men 40 - 49 did 90% of their weight, men 50 and over benched 80% of their weight, men 60-69 did 70% and men 70 and over lifted 60%. Women 39 and under benched pressed 70% of their weight, women 40 - 49 benched 60% of their weight, women 50-59 benched 50% of their weight and women 60 and over lifted 40%. For each lift a runner's time was reduced by 30 seconds with a maximum of 30 reps counted.
Eleven of the top twelve men benched the maximum 30 reps. Brighton, Michigan's John-Paul Zebrowski (25) defended his 2017 title and turned in the second fastest time of the day (16:49) for the Arnold 5K Pump and Run and lifted 30 reps to win with a time of 1:49. Silver Spring, Maryland's Vaughan O'Brien (42) who won in 2016 and was runner up last year took home the silver again ran 17:00 and lifted 30 times to record a 2:00. Waverly's Zach Holbert ran the fastest time of the day with his 16:40 and had 28 lifts to take home the bronze in 2:40. Cincinnati's Robert Messmer (42) who finished third last year covered the course in 18:18 and had 30 reps to place fourth. Columbus' Nathan Alchele (36) ran 18:18 and lifted 30 times to finished fifth in 3:18 for the second year in a row.
Portland, Oregon's George Totonchy (40) ran 18:24 and had 30 lifts to place sixth in 3:24. Powell's Brad Conklin (36) ran 18:26 and had 30 lifts to record a time of 3:26. Toledo's Robert Slater (52) moved down four spots from last year as he recorded a 18:29 and 30 lifts to finish eighth in 3:29. Dublin's T.J. Enright (33) ran a 18:39 and had 30 lifts to record a 3:39. Lawrence Township, New Jersey's Christopher Singh (35) had 30 lifts and ran 19:14 to finish ninth in 4:14. Westerville Aaron Rex (43) ran 19:15 and had 30 lifts to finish tenth.
Eleven of the top thirteen women all recorded 30 lifts. Fenton, Michigan's Lisa Veneziano (53) last year winner and a seven time winner returned to the winners circle with her run time of 19:36 and her 30 lifts to place fourteenth overall and win the women's crown in 4:36. Pickerington's Brittney Donley (41) ran 21:18 and had 30 lifts to take home runner up honors in 6:18. Columbus' Kate Couden (37) covered the 5km course in 22:20 and recorded 30 lifts to take home the bronze in 7:20. Hilliard's Ashley Tryban (31) ran 23:06 and had 30 lifts to finish next in 8:06. Galena's Wendy Billings (46) moved down one spot from last year with her 23:44 and 30 lifts to place fifth in 8:44
Clearwater, Florida's Theresa Winterhalter (53) ran 24:18 and had 30 lifts to finish sixth in 9:18. Athens' Janalee Stock (63) ran 24:19 and had 30 lifts to record a 9:19. Columbus' Brenda Buffington (59) ran a 22:49 and had 27 lifts to finish in 9:19. Canal Winchester's Jessica Heren (43) ran 22:25 and had 26 lifts to place ninth in9:49. Hillsboro's Tara Berry (45) moved down one spot from last year with her 24:49 and her 30 lifts to round out the top ten with her 9:49.
The event had the support of the entire running community. RUNOHIO's Matt McGowan served as co-race director along with Tim Pancher. Pancher and his workers oversaw the bench pressing. Andy Harris of the Columbus Running Company provided computer chip timing for the race. Jeff Sheard and UltraFit – USA helped at the finish while cross-country coaches from Bishop Watterson High School, Whetstone High School and Newark Catholic High School worked the race.
The Arnold Sports Festival in its' 30th year is the brainchild of Arnold Schwarzengger and James Lorimer, who have nurtured what began as a world-class bodybuilding competition in Columbus in the 1978 into one of the World's most popular and innovative sports festivals. The Arnold Sports Festival is the largest three-day sports festival in the world. About 195,000 sports fans saw more than 20,000 athletes competing in 60 plus sports including 15 Olympic sports.
Columbus' Evan Swartz defended his Arnold 5K title with his 15:18 and Lancaster Sammie Zishka won the women's gold in 17:14. Columbus' Chris Quinn (15:35) and Columbus Brooke Benner (18:03) captured runner up honors. Portsmouth's Eli Gerlach (15:41) and Hilliard's master Laura Kaulen (18:06) won the bronze.