Weather hazards the theme for 2014 Myrtle Beach Marathon
Sat, 15 Feb 2014 19:49:30 GMT —
More than 10,000 runners braved the rain, wind and cold to participate in the 17th annual Myrtle Beach Marathon and related events Saturday.
That's after they put up with a deadly ice storm earlier this week, just to get to Myrtle Beach.
The race started in a cold rain, as the runners left the starting gate before sunrise.
Among the thousands of runners crossing the starting line was Larry Macon, 69, the Texas man who holds the world record for running the most marathons in one year, an amazing 255.
"All the people who run marathons are absolutely optimists, you have to be crazy to think you're going 26 miles, so it's a wonderful thing to do and you meet great people," Macon said.
By daybreak Saturday, the rain had diminished, but another weather hazard took over.
High winds brought down the finish line scaffolding at the finish line around an hour after the race started.
The chilly wind blasts were a burden to even the best runners, including men's marathon winner Tom Clifford from Wilmington, NC.
"I had to fight 30 mile an hour gusts, so it was tough to hold the pace at the end, but I felt good," Clifford said.
Those who managed to overlook the raindrops, temperatures in the low 40s and 30-mile-an hour wind gusts seemed to enjoy the race.
"Really nice race, great seeing the beach, great seeing the ocean, very good scenery, great crowd, everybody was very loud, cheering us on," said Greenville runner Chuck Dammon.
For the runners, the marathon is mostly about accomplishment, setting a goal and doing your personal best. For family and friends, the marathon is all about pride.
"It makes me feel wonderful. In fact, I'm looking for a sticker, Marathon Mom. You know how they have dance moms? Well, a Marathon Mom," said Elaine Rhode of Pittsburgh, PA, who had two sons running in the marathon.
One event made a return this year after being absent from the marathon for about seven years.
It was the team relay race, sponsored this year by WPDE, which saw 125 teams of 2 to 5 runners each, crossing the line after the full 26.2 miles.
Marathon advertising director Bill Stanton says that event has always been popular and he expects more relay teams to sign up next year..