Sioux Falls, S.D. - More than 3,000 people laced up their shoes for the Sioux Falls Marathon. For the second year, the race started and ended at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.
For some runners, it's their last chance to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For others, it's all about meeting a personal goal. But all share the same love...running.
As the sun comes up over Sioux Falls, you'll find Benson Langat lacing up.
"It keeps me busy," laughs Langat.
Yankton Trail Park is a regular route for the 29-year-old University of South Dakota graduate who's getting ready for the Sioux Falls Half Marathon.
"70 to 80 miles a week, but when it gets up there close to 120 miles a week," said Langat.
You may think someone like Langat who placed 2nd last year has been running his whole life...but he hasn't.
"For me, running wasn't a thing. I was a soccer player, rugby player, and I played other sports, except running," Langat said.
Langat grew up in Kenya, where he says you were either an Olympic runner or didn't run at all.
Today, he often thinks back to waking up at 4 a.m. and joining a group of runners back home to get in shape.
"We just started training together and then all of a sudden I had a scholarship and I came here to the United States,' Langat said.
Langat now is a private coach and big part of the local running community, which helped him connect with people like Greg Koch, Owner of 605 Running Company.
"Being in the Midwest, we have some of the most supportive people around. When you add that element of running that brings in lots of potential barriers, and when you get together, you're able to knock down barriers, and really uplift each other and support each other," Koch said.
Koch is a volunteer for this year's marathon, put on by the Sioux Falls Sports Authority.
He says although Sioux Falls will be a national stage, especially as a Boston qualifier, he's ready to root for the KELOLAND natives.
"We definitely want to protect home turf. So we got a lot of locals right here for Sioux Falls in every event, and we'd like to see them be successful," Koch said.
People like Shannon Coleman.
"I was looking for something. I had four small children and I needed a getaway," Coleman said.
The mom of four took up running eight years ago and hasn't put away her running shoes since.
"My very first race was the Sioux Falls half marathon. I kind of had the go big or go home, I didn't do a 5k, I didn't do a 10k, I just did the half marathon," Coleman said.
Coleman will also be running the half marathon, like Langat.
Whether it's for fun or to win...there's many reasons for running.
But today's race..brought them all together.
"Back when you were younger you never thought, I never thought I could do something like this," Coleman said.
"It's the reason to why this place has become my home because I connect with a lot of people through running and the community of Sioux Falls has been just amazing," Langat said.