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Here's who took home the top spots at the 2022 Mini-Marathon

Runners of every caliber told 13News they were happy to be back in Indianapolis after two long years away.

INDIANAPOLIS — Olympians and folks from across the country eager to snag a new personal best time bumped elbows in downtown Indianapolis during the 2022 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Saturday morning. 

Long regarded as the largest half-marathon in the country, the 2022 race was the first time in two years that runners passed through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of the 500 Festival ahead of the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend.

The first wave of runners took off from the J.W. Marriott downtown at 7:30 a.m. A little under an hour later, the first group of athletes was already crossing the finish line. 

First across was American Paralympian Daniel Romanchuk of the University of Illinois in the Open Men Wheelchar Division. Fresh off a Boston Marathon win, the first man to ever break the 90-minute barrier in the marathon said he was grateful for an opportunity to return to the Circle City. 

"It's great being back here. The first time back here in quite a few years," Romanchuk said.

American Paralympian Susannah Scaroni claimed the top prize in the Open Women's Wheelchair Division. A wrong turn over a bridge cost Scaroni a potential course record, but she said overall the experience went very well. 

"Every single human needs to be active and have fun. Whatever it takes to do that. And no limits," Scaroni said.

Credit: Madison Stacey
Susannah Scaroni speaks with 13News' Lauren Kostiuk after winning the Open Women's Wheelchair event in Indianapolis.

The USA 2022 Track and Field Half-Marathon Championship ran concurrently with the Mini-Marathon. A key stop on the USA Track and Field running circuit, the series of road races provide American distance runners an opportunity to earn upwards of half a million dollars in prize money. 

Olympian Emily Sisson of Arizona broke the American record in the women's division.

Sisson's win comes 15 years after she won a national junior title in Indianapolis. Sisson said she grew up in the Midwest, and told 13News that experience gave her insight into the weather conditions she could face during the race. 

"It was just really windy and you could feel that on the Speedway for sure. But I was really happy to come away with the American record. That was my goal coming in today and I had a lot of help," Sisson said.

She said the win and record is something she always had her eye on during her running career.

"It's something I always wanted to do. It's a big thing on the bucket list," she said. 

RELATED: OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon running ambassador helping fellow Special Olympics athletes cross the finish line

In the men's race, Olympian Leonard Korir of Colorado Springs edged his way past Indianapolis native Futsum Zienasellassie for the win in the USATF men's race. Korir, who trains with the U.S. Army program, took the top prize with a time of 1:02:36.

Credit: Madison Stacey
Runners prepare for the start of the Mini-Marathon.

"It means a lot, because it gives me a lot of confidence. I'm training to maybe run a marathon in the fall. So, this is good preparation," the two-time NCAA champion told 13News. 

In the women's division, Mary Munanu won the women's division and said the fast pace established by the lead group of runners early made her have doubts about her ability to finish the way she wanted. 

Credit: Madison Stacey
Mary Munanu wins the women's division in a time of 1:11.03.

That's when a fellow runner pulled up alongside her.

"There was a guy. He came and ran by me and said, 'I don't want to leave you.' So, I followed him," Munanu said. 

The pair stuck it out together, Munanu said, through several kilometers. 

"That's how I won the race. And, I'm so happy because I think it's my PR. So, it's a great race for me," she said.  

Credit: Madison Stacey
Munanu credited fellow runner and Culver teacher Hiroshi Kawakatsu with motivating her throughout the race.

While Munanu is a professional runner and Nike athlete with major international road race wins under her belt, Hiroshi Kawakatsu is a physics teacher at Culver Academy in northern Indiana. 

He said this was his very first half-marathon, and that Munanu motivated him just as much as she says he motivated her. 

"I went out really a little bit too fast. We worked together for most of the race and really helped each other. It helped us run fast," Kwakatsu said. 

Credit: Madison Stacey
Hiroshi Kawakatsu and Mary Munanu speak with 13News after the race.

In the men's division, James Ngandu of Ohio claimed the top prize with a time of 1:03.25. 

"It feels good, you know. When you are done and you went to accomplish something," Ngandu said. 

It was his first time running the Mini-Marathon, and he said getting the chance to run around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was enjoyable. 

"It's my first time running in such a course. Flat. I mean, it's awesome. The conditions were great," Ngandu said. 

Credit: Madison Stacey
Men's division winner James Ngandu reacts to his first place win on May 7, 2022.

The Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K, which started the day's festivities, was won by two Indianapolis natives. Paul Stamm won the men’s race with a time of 15:14 and Anna Weber won the women’s 5K in 17:57.  

RELATED: LIVE BLOG: 2022 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon