Sunday's cool weather didn't stop nearly one thousand children from gathering at Elmer Thomas Park to join in the fight against cancer. It's part of the Spirit of Survival weekend and Sunday afternoon, the kids had their very own one-point-two mile marathon to support local cancer research . Each participant had to be 12 years old or under and log a total of 25 miles of running prior to Sunday's marathon.
Children who participated said they were running because they wanted to support local cancer research because it's a disease that affects more people each year, many of them their own family or friends. They said they also wanted to set an example for others about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.
Moments before the race started, hundreds of children were eager to set off for their one-point two mile run. Many of them were motivated by more than just the competition and good time. Even those the kids only had to run just over a mile in Sunday's overall 25 mile marathon; it wasn't easy or done without hard work.
"I trained every night. I ate healthy", said ten-year-old Alaya.
Eight-year-old Jasmine Kear said running up hills to get ready for the marathon was the toughest part of her training.
"Because it's really hard to run but that's the most challenge because its a hill. That's what I mostly run", said Kear.
Some of the runners say the marathon's cause, cancer research, was motivation enough to complete the race. Twelve-year-old Abigail Dantlzer, lost her grandmother to cancer in 2006. She says she was at the marathon in spirit and helped her cross the finish line.
"I think she would be very proud of me and she would be excited that I did this", said Dantzler.
While some of the children have not been directly affected by cancer, they still knew why it's so important to raise awareness about this deadly disease.
"Because if one of the kids, their loved one had cancer, they would feel a lot. And we run for them with this. We run for them", said Alaya.
"Well, I like to help people with cancer, and this is just a fun thing to do and also help", said Kerr.
6-year-old Savanna Dell said she was eager to run when she found out about the race.
"I really wanted to support the people that had cancer and I didn't want to be mean", said Dell.
Each child received their very own spirit of survival medal as they crossed the finish line. Sponsors said it didn't matter where each child finished in the race, but that the real prize was knowing they were supporting a great cause and healthy lifestyle.