Updated 03/18/2012 04:34 PM
Thousands Of Half Marathon Runners Race Through Manhattan Streets
While the winner of Sunday's 13.1-mile New York City half marathon completed the race in just under an hour, the roughly 15,000 runners who journeyed from Central Park to the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan pushed their own limits and raised almost $5 million for charities. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
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About 15,000 runners, including 17 current and former Olympians, hit the pavement Sunday for the seventh annual New York City half marathon through Manhattan.
Kenya's Peter Kirui sprinted across the finish line of the 13.1-mile event in just under an hour.
Ethiopia's Firehiwot Dado set a course record in the women's race, finishing in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 35 seconds.
The half marathon's winner, Peter Kirui of Kenya. Courtesy of WABC
The participants from 69 countries, ranging in age from 13 to 81, began in Central Park, ran along Seventh Avenue and the West Side Highway and then finished at the South Street Seaport.
Olympian Kara Goucher, who came in third place in the women's race, said she used the Sunday race as a rehearsal for the summer games in London.
"This is a great dry run because it's a great international field and a lot of excitement and a lot of cheering so this is a great preparation race for that," said Goucher.
Organizers said every participant was a winner, when it came to the amount of money that comes rushing in both for the city's economy and for charity.
"We are going to raise over $4.8 million for a hundred charities today and that's on top of the $34 million raised on Marathon Sunday," said New York Road Runners CEO and President Mary Wittenberg.
Runner Mark Janovic, for instance, raised $2,000 for Covenant House, an agency that helps young homeless people.
"I was so powered, I said, 'I can't let them down. I've got to run for the kids.' I pushed even though it hurt," said Janovic. "They're homeless. They can't go anyplace, so I'm saying I can do it."
Spectators cheered on loved ones as they crossed the finish line in a blur.
"Always exciting. Very fun, very proud, very proud of him," said a woman cheering on her husband.
"I'm really excited to run through Times Square, to run through the park and to finish and have a big breakfast," said a runner.
"Crowds are awesome. When you feel like you're tired, they pump you up," said runner Andy Paer. "I'm running with my name on my shirt, so I can't tell you how many times when I was running people yelled, 'Go Andy, go Andy!' Even psychologically I felt tired, but I just picked it up and just kept on going."
To register and train for upcoming races, including half marathons in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island, visit nyrr.org.