JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The event started at dawn, with 678 participants tackling a 13.1 mile half-marathon or a 26.2 mile full marathon.
The course wound its way through Madison, and ended at Liberty Park. The first full marathon runner crossed the line in just over an hour.
Dustin Dutton of Alabama finished third in the full race. It's his second marathon. "I run about 8-10 miles a day. Usually when I train for a marathon, I overdo it," he says.
The event could be considered the final leg of Marathon Makeover, which started back in January with plenty of people who had never run a marathon before. "It's a culmination of the Marathon Makeover 40-week wellness program. It's a party we've opened up to the community. We've drawn runners from 20 states and 84 Mississippi cities," says Mark Simpson, Co-Director.
The program was developed by Simpson and his wife Robin, and they've been training 250 of Saturday's runners. "We do our long runs together on the weekends. People are responsible for their exercise times during the week. We never work more than an hour," Robin says.
The first woman to finish the full marathon is no stranger to long runs. "This is number 48 for me," says Lori Ladd of Meridian, who finished in 3 hours 36 minutes.
Ladd says even beginners can build up the stamina to finish a 26-mile course. "Start out walking, gradually increase your distance running and walking, until you're running more than walking," she says.