AUSTIN — More than 20,000 runners from all walks of life, dedicated to finishing, and motivated by their own unique goals started Sunday's Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon.
"We've got runners from all 50 states, 20 countries, including almost 400 runners from Mexico," said marathon spokesman Jeff Hahn.
Among the diverse crowd, more than 120 runners in gold-colored Team Kate T-shirts.
The runners were united to support their friend, Kate Voth, who has endured Stage IV melanoma for the past five years.
"It's an unbelievable feeling. Never, ever, had I imagined this many people would come out and have this big of a showing," Voth said.
Last month, doctors discovered Kate's cancer had progressed. She's undergoing radiation for 25 tumors in her brain.
"It's such a huge motivation to me during this cancer fight, it brings me to tears," Voth said.
Another runner, Steven Ward, competed holding an American flag, and wearing his paramedic gear.
Ward finished the race in honor of his former co-worker, Capt. Randy Trinkle. The 15-year EMS veteran died in December in a car crash.
"He was a really, really good guy and we all miss him a lot. I inspired some people to maybe join me and do this again next year," said Ward.
Each mile of the marathon is dedicated to a non-profit.
"That's the great part of this, the tradition of our race — 26 miles for 26 charities," Hahn said.
With the help of the CEO of Livestrong, Team Kate raised $60,000 to help other cancer survivors.
"Knowing all the good that the money goes towards is an amazing feeling. It turned into something bigger than I ever imagined," said Voth.
Here's a look Sunday's winners:
- Omar Martinez is the overall winner with a time of 2:35.
- Mariko Neveu of Austin won the women's division at 2:55.
- Melissa White won the women's half marathon.
- Lee Troop won the men's half marathon.