Saturday's annual Mississippi Blues Marathon brought out a record number of participants, plus record times for the male and female first place winners.
Some laced up for the 26 mile full marathon, while others opted for a half marathon or a relay race. One by one and side by side, participants braced the chilly temperatures, crossing the finish line in front of the Old State Capitol.
Twenty-eight year-old Craig Leon, who traveled from Oregon, was the first person to finish the 26 mile run. He beat the race's previous record, crossing the finish line in 2:16:48. That's not his fastest time though.
"You know this was more of a training run for me," said Leon.
Shortly after Leon's victory, 28 year old Troupe Tar us, who was born in Kenya, was the first woman to finish the full marathon and in record time at 2:36:30. This is her second time in Mississippi.
"I like Mississippi, the people of Mississippi are very great," said Tar us.
The marathon brought out 3,000 participants from 47 states and 11 countries. There were also five wheelchair racers and several senior citizens who crossed the finish lines.
Sixty-five year-old Danny Hartley came in town from the Midwest.
"I lost 110 pounds 2 years ago and have been running almost a year," said Hartley.
Wheelchair racer Grant Bertha crossed the finish line with a flat tire.
"I've raced about 60 marathons so far and this is in my top three of challenging, it's a challenging course," said Bertha.
Despite the challenging course, the live blues music along the way and Mississippi's southern hospitality will make the Mississippi Blues Marathon a destination hot spot for racers for years to come.
The first place marathon runners went home with $5,000. They received a $1,000 bonus for running record times.
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