Crossing the line together

Krista and John Mark Kauffman proudly where their Columbus Marathon t-shirts and hold their finish medals. The Plain City couple crossed the finish line together.

According to the official results, John Mark Kauffman finished one second and one place ahead of his wife, Krista, in the Columbus Marathon on Oct. 19. In actuality, the couple crossed the line, hand-in-hand, at the same time.

The accomplishment was the capper to a journey the Plain City couple unwittingly started earlier this year while they still lived in Texas. It also was a great way to celebrate their first anniversary; they were married on Oct. 26, 2007.

"A couple of years ago, I started getting more physically active. In February, Krista and I started running together just to be together," said John, 29.

At first, Krista, 23, had trouble getting through a mile. She had been a sprinter in high school.

"I started walking, then running, but he wanted to workout with me, so he started coming along with me," Krista said of her husband.

Mile by mile, the Kauffmans started adding on to the distances they covered, celebrating each new milestone together.

"I have never run more than four miles by myself because I get bored. We always run together, and we talk the whole time. Neither of us wear i-Pods or anything like that," Krista said.

As the miles started to add up, the duo started thinking about running a marathon.

"Five or six months ago, we knew we would be moving to Plain City, so we looked for a marathon that would be close by. That’s how we decided to enter the Columbus Marathon," said John, who grew up in Plain City and graduated from Shekinah Christian School in 1997. Krista is originally from Hawaii; the couple moved to Plain City in July.

The Kauffmans followed a training schedule they found online and made a pact that they would finish the race together. They did exactly that on Oct. 19.

"It was really great. Obviously, it was grueling. The last six miles were painful even," John said. "It was satisfying—when we finally made that last turn and crossed the finish line—to say we completed a marathon."

For both of them, "we" is the most important word in that statement.

"Running—that’s something that just we do together. It’s fun alone time for us," Krista said.

The couple is happy with their time. They finished the 26.3-mile course in four hours and 26 minutes, crossing the line 2,710th and 2,711th out of a field of 3,867 finishers. Even before the mara-thon, the Kauffmans were talking about running their second mara-thon next spring; running has become part of their lifestyle.

"I used to play tennis and volleyball. You need a team and equipment for that. With running, it’s just shoes and pavement," Krista said.

A faithful running partner doesn’t hurt either.

The Kauffmans were two of the 20 Madison County area runners who completed the 2008 Columbus Marathon. Their results follow and include where they finished over-all, where they finished in their age division, their time, and their mile pace. For more information about the Columbus Marathon, go to This year’s top male finisher was Josh Ordway of Fairborn, Ohio, with a time of 2:23; the top female finisher was Dani Prince of Bloomington, Ind., with a time of 2:48.

Charles Blankenbiller (age 28)—Overall place: 163; Place in division: 36 of 308; Time: 3:03:42; Pace: 7:01
James Dygert (age 42)—Overall place: 1484; Place in division: 171 of 376; Time: 3:50:29; Pace: 8:48
Dale Keener (age 47)—Overall place: 1941; Place in division: 182 of 297; Time: 4:00:26; Pace: 9:11
Jared Ryan (age 26)—Overall place: 2385; Place in division: 226 of 308; Time: 4:14:53; Pace: 9:44
Mark Ryan (age 52)—Overall place: 2423; Place in division: 138 of 212; Time: 4:16:16; Pace: 9:47
Doug Weese (age 43)—Overall place: 3194; Place in division: 337 of 376; Time: 4:45:49; Pace: 10:55
Mike Jackson (age 51)—Overall place: 3248; Place in division: 180 of 212; Time: 4:49:43; Pace: 11:03
Angela Dygert (age 37)—Overall place: 3516; Place in division: 211 of 234; Time: 5:06:22; Pace: 11:42
Nathaniel Smith (age 22)—Overall place: 3567; Place in division: 209 of 214; Time: 5:12:14; Pace: 11:55
Ernest Sparks (age 50)—Overall place: 3868; Place in division: 212 of 212; Time: 7:17:54; Pace: 16:43

Jimmy Little (age 45)—Overall place: 383; Place in division: 33 of 297; Time: 3:15:35; Pace: 7:28
Richard Dickerson (age 50)—Overall place: 2554; Place in division: 148 of 212; Time: 4:21:04; Pace: 9:58
Doug Runyon (age 52)—Overall place: 3540; Place in division: 196 of 212; Time: 5:09:08; Pace: 11:48

Blaine Keene (age 31)—Overall place: 2364; Place in division: 233 of 348; Time: 4:14:21; Pace: 9:43
John Kauffman (age 29)—Overall place: 2710; Place in division: 251 of 308; Time: 4:26:24; Pace: 10:10
Krista Kauffman (age 23)—Overall place: 2711; Place in division: 98 of 173; Time: 4:26:25; Pace: 10:10
Brian Rohrig (age 46)—Overall place: 3503; Place in division: 287 of 297; Time: 5:05:12; Pace: 11:39
Caren Davis (age 46)—Overall place: 3635; Place in division: 138 of 156; Time: 5:24:05; Pace: 12:22
Johnathan Sullivan (age 34)—Overall place: 3726; Place in division: 340 of 348; Time: 5:39:05; Pace: 12:56

West Jefferson
Steve Hebenstreit (age 67)—Overall place: 47; Place in division: 1 of 3; Time: 6:17:41; Pace: 14:25.

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