JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Some ran the full 26 mile course. Others completed the half-marathon.
In the 18 degree weather, one man even sported icicles on his mustache!
Runners came from at least 31 different states, to challenge themselves or test their athletic endurance. But one runner found himself running for a dear friend who's your friend too: Chopper Bob Rall.
Several weeks ago, our Bob Rall befriended this Bob Rall, of Merritt Island, Florida, on Facebook.
We talked to Florida Bob Rall as he ran. "I have a Google alert set up for my business, got an alert one morning that said Bob Rall is now on Facebook, so I thought my Facebook page made it to Google alerts. When I clicked on it, it wasn't me," he says. "I also noticed he was from Jackson, MS. My wife and I had just made arrangements to come up and run."
Chopper Bob had planned to pick up Florida Bob and his wife at their hotel on Friday, January 8, and take them to dinner. But tragically, Chopper Bob passed away in his sleep on Monday. The two Bob Ralls never met face to face.
"I feel like he's with me," Florida Bob says, and points out some eerie coincidences. "Bob's mom and dad are Bob and Betty. My mom and dad are Bob and Betty. They're both originally from Pittsburgh. We're tied in together somehow," he says, adding he believes he and Chopper Bob are distant relatives, "Especially when you see the noses!"
"I'm not a believer in the circumstantial stuff that goes on, but Bob's making me a believer," Florida Bob says. "It's been a very interesting experience. I love it, and I met a new family because of it."
Fifty-two year-old Bob Rall is an experienced runner who plans to run marathons in all 50 states. He crossed the finish line in just under 4 hours 19 minutes.
Chopper Bob's sister was on hand at the finish line. Rall was able to meet Chopper Bob's family during his visit.
Too bad the marathon couldn't have taken place one week earlier. "I'm just so sorry I didn't get a chance to meet him," Florida Bob says.