As the sun rose Sunday morning, thousands rolled out of bed early with their running shoes on for the Sioux Falls marathon.
It's a tough race, whether you choose the 3.1, 13.1 or 26.2 mile race. But if you follow this runner's advice of bearing through the pain during the race and enjoying the finish, you could find yourself a winner.
Preliminary number estimated 2,000 but finally numbers show that 3,000 people laced up their sneakers to participate in the Sioux Falls marathon, half marathon and 5K on Sunday
And organizers say the races brought in more than just the locals.
"We have people coming from out of state to participate in the event and to benefit a great cause too," Sanford Wellness Center manager Amy Pugliese said.
One of those out-of-staters is half-marathoner Sam Dean, who started into the race with a simple goal, to finish without walking. But he finished the race with a new personal best.
And although many are running to beat their fastest time, they're also running to help children with cancer. That's because all of the money raised goes directly to Sanford Children's Hospital and children's miracle network.
And cancer is something Dean says he's willing to sprint for.
"I've had family members in the past who have had cancer and I know the kind of stuff that people have two go through and just to know what this is going towards something like that is amazing," Dean said.
And no matter what side of the barricade you were on either runner or spectator, everyone was on the same team.
"When I was feeling down at like nine, ten miles there's people cheering me on that I didn't even know. I just felt great to have support during the race," Chelsea Sweeter said.
And organizers hope this positive support will attract more people each year.
"Every year we like to continue to grow this race and grow the support," Pugliese said.
This was the 15th year for the half marathon and only the third year for the full marathon. Organizers say they'll continue both runs next year.