The 2013 Little Rock Marathon is underway, with thousands of runners from across the United States in town to take on the various courses in the 11th annual event.
Racers are competing at various distances, including the full 26.2-mile marathon, 13.1-mile half-marathon, as well as the 10K race. The event sold out with 3,000 marathoners and 5,300 half-marathon runners in an addition to the 1,600 runners taking part in the 10K.
Runners are at the event for various reasons, such as Greg Taylor, 52, of Taylor, who is running in his first marathon.
"I've been nervous the past few days," Taylor, who has run multiple 5Ks and 10Ks and four half-marathons, said. "But I woke up Sunday morning excited to race."
The full race officially got underway at 8 a.m. Sunday morning, with all runners officially crossing the starting line in downtown Little Rock near the River Market. Early starters — classified by the marathon's website as those that will need at least six hours to complete the course — went off at 6 a.m., while wheelchair racers started at 7:55 a.m.
Runners from last year's race will be familiar with the course, with their race beginning along President Clinton Avenue, before taking the journey through downtown and continuing by various landmarks in the city including the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, the State Capitol, Little Rock Central High School and into Hillcrest before finishing the race along the waterfront on Rebsamen Park Road and Riverfront Drive, reaching the finish line just off LaHarpe Boulevard in Riverfront Park.
Antwann North, 40, of Virginia Beach, Va., said he ran his first half-marathon six months ago and decided to make the Little Rock Marathon his first 26.2-mile race.
"The driving factor in running today, is that it's my first marathon," North said.
Last year's women's champion, Leah Thorvilson, is going for her fifth consecutive win in her division. Her winning time in last season's race was 2:37.26. The 2012 men's and overall champion, Mark Chepses, a two-time defending champion in the race, ran the course in 2:29.42 last year.
Finishers of the race will receive a medal for their accomplishments.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
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