(Photo - R Middendorf Media) The 22nd annual Arnold 5K Pump & Run was one of the nearly 80 events held during the 35th annual Arnold Sports Festival.  Nearly 1,000 athletes registered for the Arnold 5K Pump & Run from twenty-eight States, Washington D.C. and Canada, this event is the largest of its' kind in the World. Arnold was hand to start the race 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.

Eleven of the first twelve men benched the maximum 30 lifts.  Silver Springs, Maryland’s Vaughan O’Brien (47) runner up last year turned in a time (17:07) to record a 2:07 win.  Flatwoods, Kentucky’s Eddie Neel (39) took home runner up honors with his (17:32) and overall time of 2:32.  Saline, Michigan’s Eric Pear (53) took home the bronze for the second year in a row with his time of 17:34 and final time of 2:34.  Westerville’s Aaron Rex (48) was fourth with is 18:04 and adjusted time of 3:04.Avon’s Frank Rizzo (24) rounded out the top five with his 18:33 and 3:33.

Mechanicsburg‘s Lucas Ayars (41) ran a 18:42 for a sixth place finish time 3:42. Louisville, Kentucky’s Marty Cook (60) was seventh with is 18:46 and 3:46.  Burlington, Kentucky’s Matthew Mulliens (42) had 29 lifts and a run time of 18:29 to place eighth with his 3:53. Columbus’ Joe Hisdorf (43) ran 19:26 to record a time of 4:26 for ninth.  Portland, Oregon’s George Totomchy (45) rounded out the top ten with his 19:28 and 4:28.

Ten of the top thirteen women benched their required weight 30 times this year.  Fenton, Michigan’s Lisa Veneziano (58) defended her title to win hertenth Arnold 5K Pump & Run 5K crown with her run time of 18:13 to place fifth overall and her final time of 3:13. Five time winner Columbus’ Tina Husted (50) took home runner up honors with her 20:45 and adjusted time of 5:45.  Lewis Center’s Brooke Baker (41) ran a 21:01 for the bronze in 6:01. Sneads Ferry, North Carolina’s Megan Hirzel (30) turned in a 21:18 and a 6:18 for fourth. Roanoke, Virginia’s Allison Bowersock  (40) ran a 19:54 and successfully lifted 27 times for a overall time of 6:24 to round out the top five.

Lowell, Michigan’s Heidi Hanna (40) finished sixth with her 21:34 and 6:34. Galena’s Christy Hammond (46) ran a 21:59 for an overall time of 6:59.  Canal Winchester’s Jessica Heren (48) placed eighth with her 22:45 and 7:30.  Hilliard’s Kris Blateri (46) successfully had 24 lifts and a run time of 20:24 to finish next in 8:24.  Columbus’ (44) Cassie Cole with her 29 lifts and 23:03 run time rounded out the top ten with her 8:29.

Columbus Running Company’s Andy Harris and staff timed the event after Jeff McGowan passed.  Harris served as race directorfor the second year with the help of his staff and volunteers.  Matt McGowan and Tim Pancher the co race directors for the first twenty years served in an advisory capacity.

Jim Lorimer, co-founder of the Arnold Classic passed on Thanksgiving Day last year, he was 96. Lorimer was an attorney and Special Agent of the FBI who organized the Arnold Sports Festival since 1989. After assignments in three different FBI field offices, he moved to the private sector joining Columbus Nationwide Insurance for a 37-year career where he served as Vice President of Government Relations and established that company’s leading corporate fitness program. Lorimer founded the National Championship Ohio Women’s Track Club in 1959 and served as Chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee for Women’s Athletics during the 1960s. He promoted National Championships in track and field and weightlifting in Columbus – and in 1970 directed the World Weightlifting Championships and Mr. World Contest. Arnold Schwarzenegger won the 1970 event and that developed into a friendship and partnership. When Arnold became Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports – Jim Lorimer served on that Council with him. Lorimer also served as Mayor and Vice Mayor of Worthington for 52 years.

Twenty-four years ago, I got a call from Jim Lorimer and he wanted to meet with me and he asked if I would head up a new event for the Arnold Sports Festival – the Arnold 5K Pump & Run. He had read an article of an event where runners lifted a portion of their weight based on their sex and age and for each successful lift their run time would be reduced (later I found out the event Jim read about only had 23 participants). Jim and I thought we might get 50 – 100 athletes to try this new event. After a week we had 150 entrants and we closed entries at 200 to guarantee we could handle the participants successfully. Years later we would raise the entrants to a 1,000 limit and would sell out as quick as 2 days. Tim Pancher oversaw the lifting for the 20 years we worked with Jim on this event for the Arnold Sport Festival. Jim was a great friend and a champion for athletics. He will be missed…

2023 Arnold PnR Image Gallery

Photos: R Middendorf Media