Marathon Runners Feel Support From Spectators

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- Sunday morning's rain didn't stop nearly 4,000 runners from completing Knoxville's Third Annual Covenant Health Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5K Race.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford caught up with some of the runners and there supporters along the way.

Their was stretching, anticipation, and finally the 7 a.m. take-off, all in the rain.

"It's definitely wet," said half-marathon runner Amanda Whedbee.

Though the sky had opened up as runners hit the pavement, most had no problem with mother nature's race time surprise.

"We started off with a little bit of hard rain," said Bob Luper, another half-marathon runner, "but the rain kept it a little cooler."

Others, such as Sgt. Anthony Chapman with the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve saw the weather as a big helper.

"I thought the rain was in my favor," Chapman said, "because it helped me from overheating. It felt great out here."

Through the rain and the sweat, supporters and signs pushed runners forward through the race.

"They get this boost of energy when they hear us yelling," said Steven McDaniel who was along the sidelines cheering Donna, his better half. "My wife has gone through a couple bouts with cancer."

Donna McDaniel is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and her husband full believes that she races to celebrate life.

"No one makes them be here, no one is paying them or coercing them to be there. They're just here for the joy of it and it's just awesome."

Sgt. Chapman and his fellow Delta Company members were out running to support the Marines who couldn't run in Sunday's race.

"I was just trying to run to honor Corporal Walker," Sgt. Chapman said, "a guy injured over in Iraq."

According to him, the sideline support he experienced during the race speaks volumes about Knoxville.

"The out pour of just respect and love that citizens have been giving us in coming out today and supporting this run was fantastic."

The first person to cross the marathon finish line was Justin Gillette from Niles, Michigan. He completed the 26.2 mile run in just over 2.5 hours.

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