MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Many events have led up to this moment reaching the Mankato Marathon finish line.
Marathon runners suited up and got to the starting line at 7:30 this morning.
Up to 26.24 miles stood between the runners and their medal.
As soon as the race was underway, the community took over the streets cheering on the runners... acknowledging the challenge.
The Mankato Hockey squirts stood along Cherry Street with snacks and posters in support of the runners, including one person in particular, their coach.
Son and player Brodie Cox described what he saw in his father to be able to take on the marathon.
“Very determined, willingly and like very hard working,” Mankato Hockey player Brodie Cox said.
This year, the marathon is celebrating a decade of existence.
Visit Mankato ensured a special weekend for their first year as sole owners.
“We wanted to make sure that this was going to be a successful year. In previous years, we’ve been seeing a decline and now to have this burst come through, an increase, is just really an awesome feeling,” president of Visit Mankato Anna Thills said.
Over the years, event organizers have learned more about what it takes to run the marathon.
“It takes tenacity to get yourself up and training every single day, grit to get through it especially for those full marathoners, and just passion, passion to get your body moving every single day,” Thillis said.
Even the Chapter 10 Disabled Veterans of Mankato acknowledged the runners, amidst their popcorn sales.
“I would say, it takes a lot of guts,” D.V.M. member Pat O’Brien said.
Of course, the diverse line–up of runners represented their own reasons for completing the routes.
“It means a lot yeah, this is my first marathon I’ve won and it’s what I came out here to do so it feels great,” Minneapolis resident Nick Wimmer said.
And for him it took...
“Training, strategy, and determination throughout the whole thing,” Wimmer said.
The female marathon winner, Rebekah Mayer, saw great success in her first marathon ever.
“Really fun to come across that line first and just experience the crowd support throughout the way. There were lots of women saying like, ‘Girl Power’ and cheering for me along the way," Eden Prairie resident Rebekah Mayer said.