By Ross DiMattei

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the first time in three years, thousands of runners laced up their sneakers for the seventh annual Philadelphia LOVE Run. The run raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for families affected by cancer. 

And there’s extra excitement for this year’s run after the last two were canceled by COVID-19.

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“I live right here so it’s awesome to be able to walk out my front door and join 11,000 people to go for a run,” Amber Zimmerman, the winner of the female’s race, said. 

“I think you can tell, there’s a ton of people out here, so many people screaming, a lot of energy on the course,” she added. “You can tell everybody’s really having a good time out there.”

A chilly morning made for ideal race conditions. The 12,000 registered runners were just happy to get back to competing on city streets.

“Today was such a beautiful day,” Andrew Gelston, who won the male’s race, said. “It was really designed for a race like this. A little breezy on the way back but it means so much to be racing again and have things back to normal, race size is back to normal. It was a lot of fun today and great to be back.”

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For runners like Jenna Lampe, this race means much more.  As a cancer survivor herself who’s still receiving treatments, she single handedly raised nearly $5,000 for Legacy of Hope.

“I know the struggles, both financially, emotionally, and physically cancer patients and their families go through, so this organization speaks volumes to me,” Lampe said.

Legacy of Hope is a Delaware-based nonprofit that provides emergency financial support for Philadelphia cancer patients and their families, a goal just about every runner can relate to and get behind.

“Philly’s got a lot of heart and that was so apparent in watching all the people come together for this,” Mike Rowe, the founder and president of Legacy Of Hope, said. “Like I said, over 1,000 families in Philly who would’ve gone hungry, maybe lost their homes, been without heat or electric are not gonna be facing that burden anymore because of the runners here.”

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The goal of this race was to raise $250,000 for charity. CBS3 has been told they accomplished that before any of these runners started pounding the pavement.