Nearly 20,000  runners hit the streets of Manhattan Sunday for the New York City Half Marathon. Tara Lynn Wagner filed this report.

It started with 20,000 runners but it came down to two. The winner, by one second: Kenyan Leonard Korir, who clocked in at 1 hour, one minute and 6 seconds.

American Molly huddle took first place among women.

Although the weather was cool and clear, even seasoned athletes said the wind was a bit of a hurdle. 

"The West Side Highway if it's a little bit windy like it was today, it's a little big rough," one runner said.

Now in it's the tenth year, the United NYC Half Marathon takes runners on a tour of Manhattan, from Central Park, to south street, and through the crossroads of the world. 

"Times square was awesome. Felt like running through the middle of a basketball game," said Lane Boyer of Texas.

"It was amazing. It makes you really appreciate how awesome this city is. To run through Times Square was insane," said one runner.

"You usually are pushing your way through. Now you can actually run through a clear path," said Karen Schackner of Huntington.

Times Square was also the site of a new event this year: the Times Square kids run. A thousand kids ages 10-18 ran just about a mile and had a ball doing it. 

"We want kids growing up realizing running is for everybody. They can all be a part of it," said Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners.

The kids were offered lots of encouragement, and so were the adults. 

Spectators lined the 13.1 mile route, cheering on the field. Runners say that support fuels them through the miles. 

"Very good energy on the course. Lots of people cheering for you. It's such a privilege," said professional runner Polina Carlson of Hawaii.

For some runners, this race is just a warm up for the next big event: the Boston Marathon in April. But for everyone, from first timers to seasoned pros, crossing this finish line is an achievement in and of itself. 

"It's painful towards the end but it feels amazing. It's the most amazing feeling ever," said Julissa Tejada of Chelsea.

"Your body is capable of so much more than you think you can do. So getting out there and trying is the best way to go," said Pat McGovern.

"I just do it because I love it," said Claudia Wolfe of Virginia.

It seems like the medal at the end isn't the only reward.