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Runners overtake Ohio Stadium to finish on the 50-yard line

Runners and walkers make their way out of the starting gate for the Ohio State Four-Miler on Sept. 21 at Ohio Stadium. More than 12,000 participants joined together for a four-mile tour around OSU's campus, ending on the 50-yard line inside Ohio Stadium. Credit: Krista McComb / Lantern reporter

Runners and walkers make their way out of the starting gate for the Ohio State Four-Miler on Sept. 21 at Ohio Stadium. More than 12,000 participants joined together for a four-mile tour around OSU’s campus, ending on the 50-yard line inside Ohio Stadium.
Credit: Krista McComb / Lantern reporter

It might have been a bye week for the Ohio State football team, but that didn’t stop about 12,000 runners and walkers from converging at Ohio Stadium.

The second annual Ohio State Four-Miler took place Sunday to “celebrate a happy, healthy lifestyle,” race director and co-founder David Babner said.

A portion of the events’ proceeds was donated to the Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research, which contributes to the OSU Wexner Medical Center James Cancer Hospital, according to the event’s website.

Babner said he didn’t know how much was raised this year or last year. He also said he was not sure what percentage of the proceeds would go toward the Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research, when asked.

Runners and walkers started outside Ohio Stadium, took a four-mile tour of campus and then finished on the 50-yard line inside the stadium. Friends and family were able to look on and cheer from the South Stands.

Former Buckeye athletes, including former OSU basketball player Scoonie Penn and former OSU football player Anthony Schlegel, led the wave of runners and made appearances at the post-race tailgate party.

Brutus Buckeye and the OSU cheerleaders were also on hand to cheer on the runners as they crossed the finish line.

Babner said his goal with starting the event came from wanting to celebrate the football, fitness and the athletic department at OSU.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support from the Buckeye nation,” he said.

This year’s event sold out a month and a half early, and had an increase of 2,000 participants compared to last year, he said.

Non-OSU students registering before June 15 had to pay $45 and those registering after had to pay $50. OSU students registering before June 15 had to pay $40 and those registering after had to pay $45.

Coming in first overall was Eli Gerlach with a time of 00:20:11.

The event also drew the attention of some student runners.

Nathan Leavengood, a student in animal sciences and avid runner and first-time competitor in the Four-Miler race, said he competed to prepare for the Columbus Half Marathon next month. 

“I decided to do it because I saw an ad on Twitter for it and it sounded like a fun thing to do,” he said.

Leavengood said his favorite part of the race was being on the Ohio Stadium field. 

“I have been in the stadium for football games but I had never been able to go on the field,” he said. 

DeAnna Miller, a third-year in international relations, said she was a returning runner who fell in love with the event’s atmosphere. 

“I was just so happy to be here. It’s also a chance for me to exercise and do an accomplishment for myself to show that I can do it,” she said. 

Each participant received an OSU-themed race shirt and a finisher’s medal that features an OSU football helmet. 

After the stadium finish, the Ohio State Four-Miler post-race tailgate party took place, with headliner Zach Paxson, a country music singer and Ohio native. 

The event was held with help from the OSU Department of Athletics, IMG College, the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, and M3S Sports. 

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