By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some 18,000 runners turned out for the 35th Philadelphia half-marathon, a runners’ favorite for its flat scenic course through Center City and up and down the river drives.
Favorite Stanley Biwott won in 1:00:02. For the women, Sharon Cherop finished in 1:07:20.
But of course, most of the runners aren’t trying to win, they just want to finish within the time they set as a goal. Most cross the finish line exhilarated. Sarah Stone was actually in tears.
“It was awesome,” she said. “I started running last year. I’ve lost 75 pounds. This was my first race.”
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She was running with her best friend from college, a veteran half-marathoner, who lost 100 pounds running.
“She’s my inspiration,” said Stone. “We’re just doing it together.”
Another finisher said he was checking the distance run off his “bucket list.”
“My wife has run the Boston marathon, the San Diego marathon so I said, ‘I’m just going to train with her for this one,’ so we came out here and I did it!” he said.
A volunteer giving out finisher’s medals developed a theory as he watched the stiff, sweating runners pour over the finish line. “Runners are sick,” he said. “They pay to want to have pain. When they get finished, it’s a hurting thing.”
Indeed, runners have a saying to explain why they get up on a Sunday morning to run 13 miles. “Yeah, we’re different.”
“I had a heart operation last week. I had a defibrillator put in. They didn’t want me to jar and pull the leads out of my heart so I was trying to immobilize my left side. I wasn’t supposed to do anything for six weeks. They told me not to run so I ran easy. Ssh. Don’t tell me doctor.”
Grimes, 57, says he asked his friend Kristen Cole to run with him to pace him. “I knew I could keep him from going too fast,” she said.
“But she wasn’t nervous about me falling over,” Grimes chimed in. “She wanted to finish; she didn’t want to have to drag me along.
Grimes and Cole finished in 2:32, well off Grimes’ personal record of 1:49 but a victory, he said. Grimes claimed his determination was not so unusual.
“A lot of people are out here running with hurts and sores and pulls and strains and it’s all about this,” he said brandishing his finisher’s medal. “It’s not about winning.”