Hundreds Race in the Rocket City Marathon

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The 43rd annual Rocket City Marathon took over downtown Huntsville Saturday. Over 1,000 runners braved the chilly and rainy weather today; many say they preferred running those conditions.

Tracy Cooper, race director for the Rocket City Kids Marathon summed it up in her mantra.

"I am fit, I am strong, I can do this all day long."

Hundreds hit the streets for the marathon, half marathon, and kid's marathon.

"It was one of the easiest runs I've ever done in my life," said nine-year-old runner Paul Parilli.

"Except I made one wrong turn and I came in second," added his brother 10-year-old Tony Parilli.

The kids have run 25.2 miles over the past few weeks and race the last mile at the event.

Dwayne and Dana Debardelaben are directors of the marathon. They said the most gratifying thing is seeing runners cross the line and reach their own personal goals with the support of their community.

"We love what the volunteers do to make this race happen," said Dwayne DeBardelaben.

"Especially on a day like today. The conditions are not ideal. It's cold and it's wet, and it's windy," added Dana DeBardelaben.

"We didn't have to beg people. People were coming up and saying what can I do to help," explained Dwayne.

Brandon York, from Madison, won the marathon, finishing 26.2 miles in just two hours, 23 minutes, and 37 seconds.

Huntsville native, Alana Scarano, was the first female finisher. She ran the marathon in two hours, 29 minutes, and 55 seconds.

And this was her first marathon.

"I remember watching New York City Marathon back in 2010, and watching the women, and being just absolutely amazed by what was going on," Scarano stated.

She said these races show you the power of the human spirit.

"When I was struggling mid-race, I was having a little bit of an issue keeping fluids down, and I saw a couple people that I knew and they were cheering my name," Scarano remembered. "It brought some tears to my eyes, just like it's overwhelming how much support that I've gotten from the running community here."

Runners raced through downtown Huntsville, under the rockets of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, through the Huntsville botanical gardens, and finished inside the Von Braun Center arena.
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