SCRANTON, Pa. -- With the shot of a cannon, runners hit the pavement for the 24th annual Steamtown Marathon.
The course winds its way from Forest City in Susquehanna County down through Lackawanna County to Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.
Along the route at mile 12, we spotted 39-year-old Anthony Ezman of Clifford dressed in full Desert Storm gear and carrying the flag of the United States Army.
The Valley View marching band played at full volume as runners made their way through Archbald.
And as runners made their way into the city, the hills took their toll.
"Those last three miles, with the hills, definitely took a toll on me, but it felt good, felt good all the race," said Pol Domenech, men's winner.
Despite the struggle those hills may have caused, runners say the weather couldn't be beat.
"We couldn't have had a more perfect day. The weather this morning was a tad bit chilly, but it warmed up nicely, and it was perfect," said Rene Ryan of Annville.
"Starting out in the upper 30s, finishing in the 50s, it was great. Compared to last year it was humid, it was horrible, much nicer this year," said Wally Sokolowski of Scott Township.
Runners not only say the weather was perfect but the crowd support along the route was unwavering.
"This is my hometown, and you can't beat a race like this. All throughout the course, people are cheering for me, and when I come around they know me, and it's just awesome for the support. I want to thank everybody out there who yelled my name because it really helped," said Heidi Peoples, women's winner.
"It was great the people out there were cheering hard, and that definitely got me through the race for sure," Domenech added.
While the Steamtown Marathon was fun for both spectators and runners alike, for some, this was a race for redemption.
"I had an aneurism earlier this year that put me out of commission for quite a while, so just being able to run and compete with my fellow runners was amazing, so to be able to come out here and do this kind of race with such awesome support was fantastic," said Ryan.
Around 1,000 runners took part in the marathon this year. Proceeds benefit St. Joseph's Center.
Many we spoke with said they are already looking forward to year 25.