RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Around 18,000 runners geared up and showed up for the 46th annual Richmond Marathon on Saturday.

Participants chose to run in one of three races — the Allianz Partners Richmond Marathon, the CarMax Richmond Half Marathon and the VCU Health Richmond 8k.

The course spans along many streets throughout the city, which were blocked off in advance, beginning in the evening on Friday, Nov. 10.

The races began at staggered times throughout the morning, with the marathon beginning at 7 a.m., the half marathon at 7:15 a.m. and the 8K at 7:30 a.m.

While many came to celebrate the community, Tammy Dotson of Tampa, Florida, reminded 8News crews of the underlying meaning of the race.

“Everybody has their own story [and] everybody has their own ‘why’,” Dotson said. “When you get to hear everybody’s challenges that they’re overcoming and why they’re running, it’s so inspirational.”

Lauren Burgess came to the marathon from Washington D.C. along with her friend Laura Evans. Though they weren’t participating in the actual race, they came to support friends who ran in remembrance of their late sorority sister and friend, Meredith Legin Smith.

“She passed away last November and she had been planning on running this half marathon so a bunch of her friends and family trained for it and are running in her honor,” Burgess explained.

Evans says the marathon is a way some cope while going through a loss but the long run allows someone to carry their late loved one — channeling sadness into positivity.

Others couldn’t run alone — including Carly Csapo, of Charlottesville, and Yvonne Wiedle, of Richmond — who ran the half marathon race together.

“This is my childhood best friend,” Wiedle said. “We ran and swam in college together and we never thought we’d run a half and here we are!”

Both Csapo and Wiedle said they will continue training for more athletic events this upcoming year.

Once participants cross the finish line at Browns Island, they can celebrate their accomplishments with a post-race party, with food, music, massages, medal engraving and more.

The following runners won for their category in the marathon:

  • Adam George, 28, of Washington, D.C. — who finished at 2 hours and 24 minutes
  • Bethany Sachtleben, 31, of Broomfield, Colorado — who finished at 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Whit Blair, 25, of Grand Junction, Colorado — who finished at 2 hours and 29 minutes.

The following runners won for their category in the half marathon:

  • Emma Rogers, 23, of Williamsburg — who finished at 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Ryan Ford, 26, of Blowing Rock, North Carolina — who finished at 1 hour and 3 minutes.

The following runners won for their category in the 8-kilometer race:

  • Calli Doan, 23, of Lynchburg — who finished at 26 minutes and 24 seconds
  • Eli Moskowitz, 26, of Allston, Massachusetts — who finished at 23 minutes and 4 seconds.