Just over 1,200 people packed into Howard Wood Field Sunday morning, all with their eyes set on completing the Sioux Falls Marathon. This is a special day, a time for people to prove they are in the best condition of their lives as they tackle the marathon.
"I just enjoy running, and the marathons are so fun with the crowds cheering you on, it's a good feeling," runner Joel Tschida said.
Tschida is from Avon, Minnesota and is in Sioux Falls with this wife and two sons. The Sioux Falls Marathon is his second race of the year, and it is a step toward a much larger goal.
"We started a quest of doing 50 marathons in 50 states, do one in every state. However long it takes, no hurry," Tschida said.
To be ready for 50 races at 26.2 miles per race, Tschida has a specific training routine he likes to stick with.
"Anywhere from 30 to 60 miles a week. I try to stay in half-marathon shape year-round and if a marathon comes up like this I just do a couple long runs and I'm ready to go," Tschida said.
There are many motivations for why people join in on marathons. Some want to push themselves physically and mentally, but others use marathons as a way to bond as an entire family.
For Tschida's family, that bonding is through a cause close to their hearts.
"My oldest son has autism, and my wife and his Special Ed teacher started this foundation to help families in the area with children with autism," Tschida said.
For runners taking on a cause, crossing the finish line can mean so much to those who are invested. After 40 marathons, Kathy Pryor knows that fact better than most.
"It's an accomplishment. It takes a lot of training and a lot of dedication. You can't just sort of walk in and do it. It's the dedication and discipline," runner Kathy Pryor said.
Pryor is on the same mission as Tschida, one marathon in every state. The Sioux Falls Marathon makes South Dakota her 30th state.
"I enjoy going and running marathons in different places because it's a great way to see different cities," Pryor said.
For people like Tschida and Pryor, it is their way of seeing the world one mile at a time.
Sunday was the largest Sioux Falls Marathon ever with just over 1,200 participants. In 2011, there were just over 300 runners in the race.