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Runners cross the finish line in the Capital City

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POSTED: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 11:00pm

UPDATED: Monday, January 20, 2014 - 11:30am

Thousands of runners flocked to Downtown Baton Rouge to run in the Louisiana Marathon and The Half at the Louisiana Marathon Sunday.

“It is a beautiful town and the course is great. I think it hits the best parts of Baton Rouge,” Rosalie Teeuwen, first female to finish the Louisiana Marathon Sunday.

The races started at the State Capitol and went through the city. Runners pushed themselves through the course.

Race organizers say runners came from all 50 states and 8 countries.

People from all across Louisiana took part in the Louisiana marathon and the half marathon. Runners from Baton Rouge said having a race in their city gave them a little extra edge.

"We certainly have an advantage, because you know we train on the course," Rebecca Tucker, Baton Rouge runner, said.

"You know what to expect coming around. You know, I think I could almost run it with my eyes closed. I think that probably helps a lot knowing what is coming up next," Alex Tucker, Baton Rouge runner, said.

The Baton Rouge couple made it through the Louisiana Marathon.

"[To cross the finish line was] Pure joy you know. You finally get there. You see it in your sights when you're coming up on it. It's one of the best feelings you can have," Alex Tucker described.

Rebecca Tucker said it takes a lot of drive to finish the race even if you know the course.

She described: "All you want to do is slow down. All you want to do is stop and walk. It's hard. It's hard. It's mental. You have to tell yourself to keep going that it doesn't hurt as bad as it really hurts, and you just keep going. "

When things get tough local racers said they could rely on the crowds lining the route to spark their spirits and strengthen their strides.

Michael Edmonson, who ran the half marathon Sunday, said: "You get to all the water stops and it's all the local people you know. All of the runners you see all the time pumping you up. Making you finish and making you finish strong pacing you. It's just an awesome feeling."

This is the third year for the event. Runners said the combination of beautiful scenic courses and the races Louisiana flair help keep runners coming back each year for more.

"It's great. I love the fact I get to call this my home town race," Rebecca Tucker said. "Being our third year we have this many runners coming to join us. I think that it's really going to continue to grow. It is going to be a great, great race in years to come."

Louisiana Marathon officials said putting on the event takes a lot of planning.

“We meet on a monthly basis and talk about everything from you know our fluid stations to our logistics. It’s a lot of work and it certainly pays off. We enjoy it, not only for the community, [but] for Louisiana and for the runners that come in,” Craig Sweeny, Race Director Louisiana Marathon, said.

Sweeny said more than 1,000 people volunteered to work the race. Race officials also worked with state and local law enforcement groups.

“It takes a whole community. You know as they say it takes a village to raise a child. It certainly takes a community to put on a race,” Sweeny said.

Event organizers said the number of runners participating has gone up each year since the race began. They’re hoping the trend continues.

“We certainly want to get above that 10,000 [runners] threshold. Might be next year might be a couple of years, but we'll certainly keep doing what we need to do to put on a good event and can't wait to hear the feed back from today,“ Sweeny said.

After the race runners and their fans got a chance to relax at Finish Festival at A.Z. Young Park.

Click here for the results of the Louisiana Marathon.

Click here for the results of The Half at the Louisiana Marathon.

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