MINNEAPOLIS -- The elite runners got to start first at 8am Sunday in the annual Twin Cities Marathon from the Metrodome to the State Capitol in Saint Paul. The highest level competitors were running for their times. Every one of the other 19,000 participants had their own reason for running.
"It is on my bucket list," commented one young man from Chicago. It was his first marathon.
A young woman spoke for her group of 20-somethings. "Cause we wanted to set a goal for ourselves and go out there and train together and have fun."
For some, the race was a fund-raiser or awareness-raiser for a cause. Tatoo artist Awen Briem carried her hope for an end to verbal and physical violence against school children. Her partner, Kit, and their 9-year-old son, Eamonn, watched from a house party on Minnehaha Parkway, eight miles into the race.
"We are running because we believe that neutrality is never neutral where there is injustice," said a breathless Briem, pausing in her first marathon. "We believe that schools should be safe for all youth."
The back of her blue t-shirt read "We've got your back." It was meant to be a message to bullied youth in Minnesota.
Cheering her on was State Senator Scott Dibble (D-Minneapolis), who has sponsored legislation to toughen laws on bullying. More than 100 blue t-shirt wearing supporters offered Briem emotional support along the 26.2 mile course. It was her first marathon. She crossed the finish line at the State Capitol shortly after 2pm.
All of the runners enjoyed a spectacular day. Temperatures were in the 40's at the beginning of the race, pleasantly cool and sunny throughout and in the low 60s at the finish line. It was considered almost ideal conditions for a long road race.
An estimated 300,000 spectators watched from the curbs along the race course. Many clanged cowbells and carried signs offering support. One sign at the beginning of the race, humorously proclaimed: "Joe, Don't stop! The end is near!" Another sign the road around Lake Calhoun stated: "Worst parade ever."
The festive atmosphere included running in costumes, as did the Saint Paul Saints mascot, and others who included wild dress or grooming for the race, such as a man with a neon green "Mohawk" haircut.
Several KARE 11 News staffers participated in the various events, including meteorologist Sven Sungaard (his 7th marathon) and producer Nick Peterson, who completed the 10K race.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)