It was a cloudy, cool, misty Saturday morning in Meridian as runners from all over the world took part in LEO Run to Remember. The runners called it a perfect day for running.
The LEO Run raises money for Alzheimer's research and 350 runners took part in the run. By the time the runners crossed the finish line, they couldn't wait to tell us why they took part in the run and what it meant to them.
Anna Whitmire was the first woman to finish the half marathon.
"It was great," Whitmire said. "It was a bit humid but I’m glad the rain held off and I'm just so excited and glad that Meridian has this run and offers it to local runners. It's fantastic."
11-year old Kylie Wiggins was running in her second half marathon and said she can't wait to run a full one.
"I haven't done one yet, but I’m going to try to do the one next year," Wiggins said.
Walter Willms has run a marathon in 39 different states.
"This is a well run marathon," Willms said. "The police were great and it is among the better marathons that I’ve run."
The most inspirational story is one of a local man who was seriously injured in a car accident, losing the use of his legs. He says triathlons and marathons are a new door that opened up to him after his accident. The LEO Run is his first marathon.
"I got into triathlons and racing probably about a year ago," John Long, a C7 quadriplegic, said. "So I’ve just been trying to let it take off from there. It's helped me out everyday especially with this type of injury, its kind of traumatic. Couple of doors closed, but this one opened."
Long hopes this race will lead to him one day running the Iron Man Triathlon.
"It was very challenging," Long added. "For the first one, I probably bit off more than I can chew. It was real hilly but it was a gold challenge. My goal is to do an iron man and I think this will be good training and good experience. But it was hard, a lot harder than i thought it was going to be."
There is no word yet on how much money was raised from the LEO Run.