INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Gene Lausch has completed more OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathons than nearly everyone else. He is one of only six other people to finish all of them.
After signing up for his 43rd mini-marathon, a vehicle hit him while he tried to cross the street.
“On February 1, I was downtown walking to the symphony,” Lausch remembered. “I dropped my wife off earlier and was struck by an automobile. It fractured my hip.”
After a successful surgery, the doctors delivered the news he already knew: he would not be able to run this year’s Mini-Marathon.
“I thought it was a lost cause,” Lausch said. “But, it turns out I’ll be able to do it, so that will mean a lot.”
Lausch was a volunteer running coach for St. Richard’s Episcopal School where he influenced many young runners. Several of those runners, including his granddaughter, are going to push Lausch in a homemade cart.
“We thought because he had such an awesome streak that we thought that we could be part of helping him continue on for years and years,” Mitchell Amstutz said.
The cart was made by a man who created it for his mother to use in the Mini-Marathon for five years. She passed away last year and the family said they are thrilled it will carry someone else toward the finish line again. But, Lausch said he will not stay in the cart the whole time.
“I’m going to start out walking,” Lausch explained. “I think that’s important symbolically. It shows how I’m going to attack the race.”