It’s a test of willpower — both mental and physical.
Sunday morning, hundreds of runners laced up their shoes and set out on a journey through the heart of Ann Arbor for the city’s third annual marathon.
The marathon was hosted by Champions for Charity, a for-profit company based in Ann Arbor. Four non-profits also contributed to the event, including the Leslie Science and Nature Center, Shelter to Home Animal Rescue, Ann Arbor Marathi Mandal and Concordia Lutheran School.
There were 367 5K finishers, 878 half-marathon finishers and 241 marathon finishers. These numbers are a decrease from last year’s races, which included 578 5K finishers, 905 half-marathon finishers and 406 marathon finishers.
University alum Penn Greene was the first person to finish the marathon. A 2012 graduate from the School of Art & Design, he completed the 26.2 mile race in 2:48:07. Greene said the weather, although cold, was “beautiful” for the runners.
“After running all winter in the snow and the slush, it was such a treat to run on a beautiful day like this,” Greene said. “But the trick is if you’re cold, run faster.”
Greene, a graduate student at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, added that Ann Arbor is a fantastic running venue.
“It was such a treat to come back and run in Ann Arbor,” Greene said. “It was like coming home.”
Contestants began the race in the northwest corner of the Big House. The course went through downtown Ann Arbor, the University’s campus, Geddes Avenue and Gallup Park, ending on South Main Street between East Liberty Avenue and East Washington Street, where participants received medals for completing their respective races behind cheering spectators.
The original route also included a leg through the Nichol’s Arboretum, but icy conditions forced the marathon’s organizers to use an alternate route.
The event provided many amenities for the runners. These included an 18 on-course aid stations where runners could re-hydrate and eat energy gel, a DJ at the finish line and a live band in the middle of the course.
Another offering, the Finish 1.2 Mile, provided participants who want to finish a marathon but may not have the stamina or ability to finish it in a single day, the opportunity to complete the first 25 miles during the months leading up to the marathon date. These runners logged their miles and completed the final 1.2 miles on Sunday.
Northfolk, Virginia resident Ramiro Bravo, one of the participants, said he is currently attempting to run half-marathons in all 50 states. He resolved in 2012 to finish the Chicago Marathon, but Bravo said he hated running the full 26.2 miles, and is now running only half-marathons.
He’s ran in 11 states so far, and Ann Arbor has been one of the more pleasant experiences for him.
“The only bad part from a running aspect was the roads being as bad as they are,” Bravo said. “Other than that, it was nice, scenic and well put together. It seems like a pretty good community here in Ann Arbor.”