Thousands Gather for Peoria Marathon

It started and ended at the Civic Center downtown

PEORIA - Thousands of people were up before the sun Sunday morning to take part in a 26-mile race through the River City. 

People from all over the country gathered at Peoria’s Civic Center.

That was the start, and finish line for the annual Peoria Marathon.

And even though the temperatures were below freezing, most of the runners we talked to said they just came out to have some fun.

"We're crazy, we're maniacs."

Crazy is the word most runners use to describe themselves. Especially Evelyn Watkins.

"I ran a marathon yesterday morning too in Indianapolis, so I'm probably the craziest one, one of the craziest ones,” Watkins said.

Watkins came from Mississippi, just for this 26-mile run.

She has a goal of running in all 50 states.

And while most other runners don't share her ambition. They are serious about their sport. 

"Anybody can do a marathon, it is to prove to yourself that no matter what, as long as you keep trying, and going forward and moving forward, that you will succeed,” said runner, Brenda Schierl.

The cold temperatures were no match for more than 2,000 runners.

"It's actually really good weather today, it's perfect for marathoning. No wind, nice and cool, nobody will get overheated. We should be thankful for this weather," said runner, Keith Reynolds.

"I'm freezing, actually I am and I'm wondering why in the heck I don't have more layers on, but I'll warm up once I start running, hopefully,” Schierl said.

Organizers say they're happy for the fall weather. They moved the race from the spring because it was too cold.

But no matter the weather, they say they're happy to bring people to Peoria.

"This is an opportunity to really start making a different type of economic impact, people will come. Like they say, if you build it, they will come,” said race director, Adam White.

"Runners plan over a year in advance for a lot of these events,” White said.

And a lot of them are already thinking of next year.

"You push yourself to the outer limits, and when you succeed, it's just awesome,” Schierl said.

"My goal is just to finish the race, you know, meet my lifetime goal of 50 states,” Watkins said.

Most of the runners we talked with say running has become a part of their life.

Many of them say they run every morning, regardless of the weather.

 


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