County Prosecutor

RUNNING ON ALL CYLINDERS: Pike County Prosecutor Alex Ellison stands at his variable desk in his office on the third floor of the Pike County Court House. Ellison and some of his friends will be running in the Chicago Half-Marathon at the end of next month. Photo by Stan Schwartz

BOWLING GREEN—If you see Pike County Prosecutor Alex Ellison out running, know that he’s doing it to train for a half-marathon.

He’s registered to run in the Chicago Half-Marathon, Sept. 29, along with a few of his friends. This is not his first race. Ellison has run in. He’s competed in three half-marathons and two full ones. A full marathon is 26.2 miles. He’s also competed in a 50K race, which is 

31 miles. In high school, Ellison was on Bowling Green High School’s cross country team.

Ellison said his friends are not big runners like he his, so they won’t be running for competitive times in Chicago. They were high school friends and athletes.

“We ran together a little bit when we were younger,” he said.

For his training Ellison said he runs about six days a week, and mostly for distance. Though, he said, he should try and change up his running routine to include some shorter, faster-paced training.

“We’ll try to stay together” during the race, he said during an interview in his office on the third floor of the Pike County Courthouse. If his office had not already been on the third floor when he was elected county prosecutor last year, he probably would have requested it, so he could do the stairs every day. He even has a variable desk, so he can stand and work.

He noted that neither he nor his friends are real competitors when it comes to marathons.

“It’s not like we could win one,” he said. But one of his friends lives in Chicago now and they thought the race would be a good excuse to get together again and share a meaningful experience.

This half marathon is considered Chicago’s hometown race. It is the 23rd annual running of the HOKA ONE ONE Chicago Half Marathon and 5K by My Fit Key.

According to the marathon site, the race “is centered on Chicago’s historic Jackson Park, once home to the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.

“The course highlights Chicago’s historic south shore and features a traffic-free Lake Shore Drive—the only Chicago race to completely shut down this main transportation artery. Runners will traverse the streets of Hyde Park and the Museum of Science and Industry Campus before taking on the north and south Lake Shore Drive lanes and finishing at the Statue of the Republic or ‘Golden Lady’ as she is known to locals.

“The Chicago Half Marathon supports the programming of the city, benefitting charity partner Chicago Run, promoting the health and wellness of Chicago children through innovative, engaging and sustainable youth running programs.”

As with most marathons, the runners are usually assigned start positions based on their expected mileage times.

Ellison said he’s usually placed about the middle of the crowd of runners at the start. Frontrunners who are vying for top times are placed at the front. At some of the larger marathons, some runners have to wait upwards of 20 to 40 minutes before they can even reach the starting line.

Also, those larger marathons require runners to meet certain qualifying times before being allowed to compete.

But for this half marathon, Ellison said he just filled out the registration form and paid his entry fee, and he was good to go.

But he’s no slouch when it comes to running. The best time Ellison has done for a half marathon is about 1 hour, 35 minutes.

Once he was out of high school and in college, Ellison said he missed the competition, and wanted to try running again. So, during his freshman year in college, he took up running again, competing in his first half marathon.

“I’ve just done a variety of races ever since,” he added.

Someday, he said, he would like run in one of the larger marathons, such as the Boston Marathon.

“It would be fun to do one day, if I could qualify for it,” he said.

In a lot of the races, he said, all the competitors are encouraging. 

“If you start slowing down, even the guy next to you that you don’t know will slap you on the back and say, ‘Come on. One more mile!’” And all the people lining the racecourse will cheer each and every runner no matter how fast or slow they are moving.

The 28-year-old prosecutor said he absolutely loves his job. Elected last November, he started as county prosecutor in January. He had been the assistant prosecutor for two years before that.

“It’s absolutely the most fun job I’ve ever had,” he said. “Even if I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d still come into work every day as prosecutor.”

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