CLOVIS, California (KGPE) — The Two Cities Marathon made a comeback on Sunday. The Boston qualifying race was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of runners of all ages and experience levels made their way through Clovis and Fresno for several hours.
For Oscar Perez, it was one for the books.
“I came in second place by hundredths of a second,” he shared.
Perez said he ran the 26-mile course in two and a half hours, adding that Sunday’s event was his first full marathon.
“I didn’t know how I would do after mile 22, that’s where a lot of runners struggle,” he said, but in the end, his 70-miles a week training got him through.
“We had 3,500 runners come out today and run distances anywhere from 5k to a full marathon,” said Aaron Samansky, Fleet Feet owner.
The event organizer said they’ve been working hard over the last few months to run things smoothly.
“A lot of us have been here since 3 am, so it takes a lot to set up.”
It also took a lot for some runners to make it to Clovis Community College on Sunday morning.
“Training was going well and then, unfortunately, I got covid two weeks ago, so I didn’t run for two weeks,” one runner shared.
Others say recent smoke-filled skies from the fires made it hard to train, too.
Runners found a way to push through, though.
“The course was terrific because of the people that come out, the volunteers,” said Cheryl Spano from Three Rivers. “There’s nothing like feeling exhausted and not feeling like you’re gonna make it, and having someone say ‘You’re doing great.'”
Spano said the signs were especially helpful.
“I read so many that just cracked me up, like ‘Your grandma just passed you’ or ‘You’re running better than the government runs.”
Spano encourages others to take that first step and challenge themselves to a marathon.
“You can start with a 5k, you still get all the kudos, and then just work yourself up. And a lot of people just walk a marathon, and you still did it.”
“My hats off to the people, it’s very impressive to see the fast athletes that finish in the front. But it’s very inspiring to watch the people that come in later, you know, just the perseverance they have is amazing,” said Samansky.