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Runners proving to themselves they can finish Little Rock Marathon

"I am so excited about it because my whole life, I've always been a quitter. Like, I've always like just been intimidated by especially athletic things."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — The entire marathon is 26.2 miles and the half marathon is 13.1 miles. It starts and ends behind the Statehouse Convention Center on LaHarpe Blvd. 

"At 6 a.m. we have those marathon runners who take from six and half hours to eight hours to finish, and then at 8 a.m. the rest of the field and all of the half marathon runners will start," said Mike Garrity, the race director for the Little Rock Marathon. 

The event is normally the first weekend in March. They were able to have it in 2020 right before the COVID-19 shut down. This year, they had to delay it until November. 

"The big thing with this race, because of the construction on I-30, we had to change all four of our courses so the first seven miles is a little different. We're not going out by the airport like we traditionally have. We're going to spend a little more time in North Little Rock," said Garrity. 

Garrity says they asked people who were unvaccinated to wear masks -- especially at the start lines where everybody is gathered in the beginning.

He also says the marathon is for communities to come together.  

Sammy Poole is from Springfield, Missouri. 

She traveled down to Little Rock to participate in her first marathon right along with new friend, Mads Hogan. 

"We met at a house last night; at a friend's house and yeah, [we] had mutual friends and we're like, 'You're doing the race?! I'm doing the race! That's crazy,'" said Hogan. 

It's her first marathon as well. 

She says last year she lost 55 pounds after wanting to make a change for herself. Her mentality is to never quit. 

"I am so excited about it because my whole life I've always been a quitter. Like I've always just been intimidated by especially athletic things. Like, I just didn't trust like my own capabilities," said Hogan. 

Jeff Glasbrenner lost his leg to a farming accident when he was 8 years old. He wears a prosthetic leg. 

"When I was 8 years old, the doctors and everyone told me what I could and couldn't do, and now for me it's all about proving to myself what I can do, and so I can run a half marathon," said Glasbrenner. 

He's climbed Mt. Everest. 

"This is about my 10th year of doing it on and off, and so it's just a great experience to be out here and be able to challenge myself to do a lot of things that a lot of people can't," said Glasbrenner. 

73-year-old Steve Hughes says he needs hip surgery and his knees aren't as good as they use to be, but he's there to run his race in the marathon. 

"I've been doing marathons since the 1970's. I did 400 before my knees and feet and hip wore out, so now I'm just doing as much as I can as long as I can," said Hughes.

Using his arms, he rides a bike the full 26.2 miles. 

Each person has their own reason and passions for wanting to participate in the Little Rock Marathon. 

It starts with that first step. 

"I'm just pumped to get across that finish line and to be able to tell myself that I did it," said Hogan.