By Matt McGowan, Columbus  March 8, Because of the treat of COVID-19 the Ohio Department of Health, Columbus Mayor Ginther and Ohio Governor DeWine cancelled the Arnold EXPO and banned spectators from most of the athletic events at the Arnold Sport Festival. The Arnold Pump & Run and Arnold 5K races were still contested.  The cost of the lifting for the Arnold 5K Pump & Run more than tripled since the closing of the EXPO.  The race committee meet with the Columbus police on February 3rd and were informed we could not use the course which had been used for seventeen years because of construction and other issues on the old course route. 

Then on February 13th the police informed the race committee there was another race in town, so the course had to be modified.  This new course also increased the cost of the event.  With all of the fixed cost of staging a road race, especially in a downtown area, the race committee decided twelve years ago to post on the registration page that there were “No Refunds For Any Reason”.  The president of the Road Runners Club of America thought this was a good idea to prevent concerns if an event or a part of the event had to be cancelled for any reason.  No one thought what transpired two days before the Arnold Sport Festival was to begin would have occurred.  The race committee understands the frustration of everyone involved with the Arnold Sports Festival and hopefully this will not happen again or to any other event.

The 20th annual Arnold 5K Pump & Run was one of the nearly 80 events held during the 32nd annual Arnold Sports Festival.   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 980 athletes registered for the Arnold 5K Pump & Run from thirty-two States, Washington D.C. and Canada, this event is the largest of its' kind in the World. The limit of 980 athletes was reached in just six days. The race started on High Street by the Arnold Schwarzenegger statue, ran towards downtown and loop around the town before finishing on High Street in front of Greater Columbus 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 -59 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.

The top fourteen men benched the maximum of 30 lifts. Waverly's Zach Holbert (33) defended his title and turned in the fastest time of the day (16:12) to record a 1:12. Cincinnati’s Robert Messmer (44) moved up a spot from last year to take home the silver with his run of 17:41 to record 2:41.  Caldwell’s Randy Lowe (51) moved up eight spot from last year to win the bonze with his 17:46 and adjusted time of 2:46.  Dublin’s T.J. Enright (35) improved two spots from 2019 to record a 17:49 and a final time of 2:49.  Avon’s Frank Rizzo (21) ran a 18:03 and finished fifth with 3:03.

Saline, Michigan’s Eric Pear (50) finished sixth with his 18:04 and 3:04.  Columbus’ Jason Place (49) covered the new course in 18:08 and a seventh place finish with his 3:08. Scott Deport, West Virginia’s Blake Stevens (44) ran 18:09 and finished one second back.  Leesburg’s Brian McNeal (50) ran a 18:16 for a final time of 3:16.  Powell’s Brad Conkin (38) covered the course in 18:20 to round out the top ten with his 3:20.

Thirteen of the top sixteen women benched their required weight 30 times this year.  East Sparta’s Zoe Schilling (21) ran away from the women’s field with her run time of 18:25 along with 29 lifts to win in 4:05. Lynhurst’s Kate Milgrom (33) turned in a 22:03 with her 30 lifts took home runner up honors with her 7:03.  Hilliard’s Ashley Tryban (33) improved two spots from last year with her 22:09 and 30 lifts to place third in 8:06.  Canal Winchester’s Amanda Black (27) ran a 23:06 and her 30 lift placed fourth with a 8:06.  Cincinnati’s Emily Sykes (30) ran 21:55 and her 27 lifts rounded out the top five with her 8:25.

New Carlisle’s Annette Bauer (56) ran 23:29 and recorded 30 lifts to place sixth in 8:29.  Bolivar’s Amy Palmer (50) turned in a run time of 23:51 and 30 lifts gave her a final time of 8:51.  Pickerington’s Manju Dearing (43) covered the course in 23:53 and 30 lift gave her a time of 8:53. Columbus’s Cassie Cole (41) ran 23:56 and her 30 lift resulted in a time of 8:56.  West Milton’s Michelle Hoover (42) recorded a 24:24 and her 30 lifts captured tenth place with a 9:24.

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 and his staff from the Columbus Running Company provided computer chip timing for the race. Jeff Sheard and UltraFit – USA provided support and cross-country coaches from Bishop Watterson High School and Newark Catholic High School worked the race.

The Arnold Sports Festival 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 Worlds most popular and innovative sports festivals.

Check out all of the results -  https://www.columbusrunning.com/pages/results
And later a number of race photos on http://runohio.com/index.php/photos/2020

Race photos from the Arnold 5K Pump & Run and Arnold 5K are available online from Fairfield Photography - www.FairfieldPhoto.com