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      Runners invade Myrtle Beach for mini marathon

      More than 4,000 runners trekked 13.1 miles for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Sunday morning.

      The race began at 7 a.m. at Coastal Grand Mall, and the first runner finished a little more than an hour and thirteen minutes later.

      "It's like a drug. You get used to it. You enjoy it, and it makes you feel really good," said Ben Godfrey from Raleigh. He won the race with a time of 1:13:01, his personal best.

      Just 14 minutes later, the first female broke the tape at the 3rd annual event.

      "I worked very hard for it, and my goal was to break my PR (personal record) of an hour and thirty minutes," said Deb Ryan from Southern Pines, NC. "To win, that's just the icing on the cake." Ryan finished with a time of 1:27:08.

      "Being the first woman is unbelievable," she said. "The boys are very supportive of us girls... but it's nice to say I beat some boys. I'm not going to lie."

      Temperatures at the start of the race were near 50 degrees, but racing in Myrtle Beach makes running less difficult, said Ryan.

      "They do a great job organizing this," she said. "They're very accommodating to us runners that impede on their town. It's just a great area. The weather is beautiful. It's hard to beat."

      While some like Godfrey and Ryan raced for time, others raced for their own reasons.

      "October 1, 2010, I was 282 pounds, and I couldn't walk across the parking lot," said racer Valeda Hood. She's lost 137 pounds and ran her first half marathon on Sunday.

      "I have so much more energy. So much more drive," said Hood.

      That same drive is what pushed others.

      "The feeling is amazing when you go across the finish line. I love it. I'm addicted," said Ame Lozano from Wilmington.

      This is her fourth half marathon, but she felt this race was much different than the others.

      "The other three that I've ran they're great, but the spirit that I get at this race, it's just everyone's happy. Everyone's nice," said Lozano. "This is my favorite race out of all of them."

      "It's in your blood, and you can't get away from it," said Ryan.