It was a record year at the 24th annual Shoreline Classic. One thousand six hundred participants ran along Lake Decatur. Six hundred fifty 15K runners crossed the finish line and the most ever 5K runners, 950, participated in this year's event.
"Whenever you run a race it's always better to run with a lot of people, you know get your adrenaline pumping a little bit and you always run faster times," said 5K Runner Patrick Smith. "The people out here are great. The running community is awesome."
For most runners Sunday was not about finishing first, it was about finishing and accomplishing personal goals.
"Today I wanted to beat my personal record of 27:30 and I smashed that so I couldn't be happier," Smith said.
Still, it was an impressive day on the track. The number of participants wasn't the only record broken. The first place 15K finisher broke a course record with a finishing time of 43:39. That's averaging a little more than a four minute mile. And while the event is a competition, winning isn't everything.
"This is not about time," said Assistant Race Director John Pranschke. "This is not about a place on that placard. This is about getting across that finish line."
And it's about accomplishing a goal. It's about sharing an achievement with other people.
"All these people, it's not just you, it's a group of people trying to help each other," said 5K runner Abby Coers.
A record number of runners helping each other.
"It continues to grow every year," Pranschke said.
For some of those runners, the Decatur lake front was a familiar place.
"It's home," Smith said. "It's Decatur. Decatur has a lot of neat things going on and this is just one of them."
But it's bringing together people from all over, providing them with an opportunity to do something that, maybe, they've never done before.
"I just wanted to be part of the community, living in this town and working in this town," said 15K runner Eric Hodel.
And even if they have done it, every step is an accomplishment.
"I thank god that I'm still alive," said jokingly 15K runner Cathy Kurecki. "No it's truly a blessing that everything's still in one piece."
The finish line is a sign of an achievement and perhaps motivation to do it all over again next year.
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