While runners of the two-legged variety ran in the eighth annual Seymour Half Marathon on Saturday morning, walkers of the four-legged variety, and their owners, competed in the fourth annual dog walk.

Both started on Stadium Drive between First Baptist Church and Seymour High School’s Bulleit Stadium and finished on the track at the stadium.

Barb Lecher of Greensburg and her daughter, Elizabeth Lecher of Lebanon, walked with their Great Dane, Tank.

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“My daughter saw it online and we decided to come and support the local animal shelter in Jackson County,” Barb Lecher said.

The pair joined around 20 other people and their dogs for the one-mile course to help support FLASH Jackson County, a spay and neutering program, and to raise money to build the Jackson County Dog Shelter.

“It’s a great cause, we’re big dog lovers and we like helping community efforts,” Barb Lecher said.

Martha Brown of Seymour and her dogs, Tux and Twilight, tied with Kelly Walker, also of Seymour and her dog, Leo, for first place. Everyone participating in the walk received a dog tag.

The dog walk began after the start of the Seymour Half-Marathon, which was a bit longer, coming in at 13.5 miles.

An estimated 200 participants ran in the longer race.

Coming in at just under 1 hour and 22 minutes, Joe Bell of Columbus was the first to cross the finish line.

Bell says he competes in a large number of the Indiana Timing Series races, and this race is a stepping stone to running a 100-mile foot race in Wisconsin in the future.

But Bell stressed you don’t start running by doing a race like that.

“Slow and steady pace and build up to the distances you want to run,” Bell said after finishing. “Run a few miles and get used to that then increase, but always pace yourself.”

Bell was one of the participants who ran as part of the Quaff On! running team based in Bloomington.

“They just kind of started looking for runners who enjoy beer and running and I fit that,” said Bell, who admitted he liked having a beer or two after finishing a race.

One runner, Claire Wisler, 12, participated in the half-marathon as well.

Wisler said she had been increasing her mileage leading up to the race and had started preparing since February.

“I do cross-country, tennis and have been doing the race series, but I’m better at the long-distance running. I just like them,” said Wisler, who ran with Fitness 1440 from Seymour.

The race has grown in recent years, but organizer Jeff Niewedde, of Brownstown hopes it will grow even more.

“We had about 200 entries this year; we’re hoping to build that to around 400 to 500,” he said.

To accomplish that goal, Niewedde said he plans to do a scaled pay system as an incentive to register, meaning the first 100 to register may only have to pay as little as $20, while the next 100 would pay $30. The entry fee would then increase every 100 participants until it reaches $70.

“I hope this could build to something that we could talk to the city and see about shutting down roads and making it bigger,” he said.

Niewedde said he is appreciative of all the groups that support the race including Seymour Police Department, Seymour Fire Department and Jackson County Emergency Medical Services, the Seymour Department of Public Works, local gyms and fitness centers and the Seymour Multi-sport Club and Seymour High School Cross Country team.

“They make the race great, and with it being in a smaller town, we can offer things like parking close to the race start and finish and other advantages like that,” Niewedde said.

“People can look forward to it returning the same time next year on the third Saturday in May,” he said.

At a glance

Overall top runners in the 2017 Seymour Half Marathon

1. Joseph Bell – 1:21:57.4

2. Nate McLeese – 1:23:26.6

3. Perez Madison – 1:29:03

4. Ryan Hercamp – 1:30:00.3

5. Steve Sunbury – 1:31:36.3

6. Paul Chapple – 1:33:35.5

7. Jessica Sinclair – 1:34:36.1

8. Cesar Gamez – 1:35:40.1

9. Bob Lane – 1:37:02.4

10. Clay Williams – 1:43:13.1

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Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at apiper@tribtown.com or 812-523-7057.