RICHMOND, Va. -- More than 18,000 runners made their way through the River City taking part in the Allianz Partners Richmond Marathon, CarMax Richmond Half Marathon or VCU Health 8k Saturday morning.
The race is known as "America’s Friendliest Marathon," according to organizers, because of the energy from spectators, spirit groups, party zones and neighbors along the course.
Michael Laverty could be heard giving boost to runners for hours just past mile 21 at the corner of Pope Avenue and Crestwood Road.
Those cheers came in waves of encouragement sympathizing with the difficulty of the race, to commenting on the different outfits worn with different states and sport teams giving people a giggle.
Laverty said he couldn’t miss the chance to contribute as the course runs through his historic Northside neighborhood, then along the James River and downhill to the finish line in the heart of the city.
"Just look around, Richmond does a great job. That's what it is all about," he shared.
Laverty said that energy brought by the hundreds lining the course is what helps make many feel the race is within reach.
Laverty knows as he has run the marathon eight times. However, he had to retire from running long distances like 26.2 miles.
"I can't run anymore, so I'll wear myself out by cheering," Laverty explained.
While this year marked a different kind of engagement for Laverty, he said he still felt a boost of energy on race day.
“If I can help them, that's a good thing," he said.
Adam George, of Washington, D.C., took first place in Richmond Marathon with a time of 2:24:18. Bethany Sachtleben, of Broomfield, Colorado, was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 2:40:26.
In the Half Marathon, Ryan Ford, of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, took the men’s title with a time of 1:03:17 while Emma Rogers, of Williamsburg, Virginia, was the first woman to finish with a time of 1:15:40.
Eli Moskowitz, of Allston, Massachusetts, came in first in the VCU Health Richmond 8k with a time of 23:04 while Calli Doan, Lynchburg, Virginia, took the women's title with a time of 26:24.
The marathon is one of the top 25 qualifying races runners participate in to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
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