NEWBERRY — At 8 a.m. on Bulldog Drive, a crowd gathered and watched a whir of colors as runners dashed out and began a journey around Newberry that culminated in Newberry’s first half marathon.
The March 22 race included 324 runners from 10 states and parts of Canada who made the trek to Newberry to log the 13.1 miles for the event.
The marathon, a charity event that brought attention to Newberry and raised money for The Boys Farm, ended at Newberry High School.
Mark Baumgartner, race director, considered Newberry the perfect location for the marathon.
Baumgartner received help for the marathon from many sources, including Newberry College’s cross country coach, and the City of Newberry’s recreation department and police office.
“I have lived in Newberry for awhile,” he said. “My wife’s parents and grandparents lived in Newberry. When I was thinking about doing a race, my mind went to Newberry. I used to run in Lynchs Woods. We are excited to bring this event to town and see it come together.”
Allison Kyzer, chiropractor in Newberry, trained for the marathon by running around the downtown Newberry area. This was her first half marathon. She gained motivation with friends through the “Map My Run” app.
Preparation for her during race day included arriving early to become relaxed and focused. Kyzer also had a team of supporters who wore gray shirts with the logo “Dr. Kyzer has my back. Who has yours?” engraved in white.
“I thought it would be fun to take part in the marathon. Especially since it’s the first one,” Kyzer said. “We are very excited about the race.”
The runners received water at each checkpoint of the race throughout town.
The crowd cheered and shouted words of inspiration as each contestant crossed the finish line to receive their awards. After the race the racers received massages, performed cool-downs and ate fruit and read the results of the race.
The first place runner of the Newberry Half Marathon was 33-year-old Justin Bishop from West Columbia who clocked in at 1:18:17.
Second place was Clint Grant, 32, from Mauldin, third went to Erin Miller, 37, from Columbia, and fourth place was awarded to Matt Henderson, 25, from Boiling Springs.
Newberry’s own Austin Sorensen, 20, placed 14th in the marathon with a time of 1:30:38. He was the first Newberry resident to cross the finish line.
Top marathon finishers received a pair of tickets to the Newberry Opera House. The tickets were donated through the recreation department. They also received custom plaques.