A quartet of young men took a day off from their Maine-to-Georgia hike along the Appalachian Trail and ran a marathon on Saturday.
Running his first 26.1-mile race, Dylan Ricke of Miami, Fla., finished only 14 minutes behind champion Tal Angelosant of Washington, D.C., during a rainy and chilly day of races at the third annual Freedom's Run.
"The ridiculous factor is what attracted us; it seemed far-fetched," said Ricke, who averages about 16 miles hiking each day in a quest of becoming the second member of his family to traverse the 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
Winning might've seemed a bit far-fetched for Angelosante, running his 28th marathon and first Freedom's Run.
"I wouldn't say I'm an inspiration," Angelosante said. "It just says you can still run pretty good into your 50s."
A two-time marathon winner previously - "when I was younger," he said - Angelosante hoped to win his age group, not the whole race.
"I got ahead at mile two," Angelosante said. "I never thought I would win until about mile 25. I kept expecting someone to come up on me."
Angelosante finished the race in 2 hours, 57 minutes, 34 seconds, two minutes ahead of 29-year-old Migel Perez (2:59:52). Thirty-two-year-old Brian Smith came in third with a time of 3:00:40.
"This really is a terrific course and really a well-run race," Angelosante said. "Aside from the rain and the hills at the end, it was really a fantastic experience."
The rain wasn't a factor in Angelosante's view.
"There's a certain exuberance in running," he said. "You don't let (the rain) bother you until you cross the finish line."
As runners finished their races, there was plenty of hustling to get into warm cars and out of the cold, damp clothing on the wet and raw morning.
Women's marathon champion Jacqueline Palmer, 23, of Frederick, Md., wore her commemorative Boston Marathon jacket from the 2010 race, though was still in her running shorts at the awards ceremony held a couple of hours after most of the runners had finished their races.
She and Angelosante both received plaques from the Road Runners Club of America as regional champions, a designation the Freedom's Run marathon received, during the postrace celebration held at the Bavarian Inn.
"I actually liked the weather," Palmer said. "I run best in the cold. I just have a little wet feet."
She chose to use the race as a "training run" for the JFK 50-miler about seven weeks from now.
"I wasn't really expecting that," Palmer said of her victory.
She completed the course in a record time of 3:18:42, less than a minute ahead of 38-year-old Victoria Grieve (3:19:20). Third-place finisher Shawn Loy crossed the line in 3:25:24.
Mandana Mortazavi held the previous record of 3:28:33 set in the first even in 2009.
"It was definitely challenging to pace myself in the beginning," Palmer said. "(The win) lets me know I paced myself well."
Palmer's time over the second 13 miles was faster than her first 13 miles.
Freedom's Run was her sixth marathon, and she'll be back at Boston next April.
Half marathon record-holder David Hryniak of Chesapeake, Va., finished second to Charlie Ban. Erik Hinrichsen was third.
In the women's half marathon, Lori Jandreau defeated former Jefferson High School standout Michelle Van Horn. Molly Matala was third.
Times weren't available in the half marathon.
Winners in the 10-kilometer race included Stephen Malcolm, 25,and Kelly Buriak, 27.
Malcolm completed the 6.2 miles in 39:05, 13 seconds ahead of runner-up Owen Faris and about a minute over Harry Linde, 52, in third.
Buriak ran her race in 41.45, winning by 34 seconds over Shauna Hanley (42:19). Heidi Marks ran 43:28 for third.
Martinsburg's Brad Sponaugle won the 5K, while 13-year-old Abby Colbert claimed the female division with a one-second victory over 8-year-old Fiona Brummor.
Sponaugle normally runs in the half marathon, but he opted for the shorter race as he recovers from a distance relay event held last weekend. In such racers, runners cover a segment of a race before giving away to a teammate for the next segment, and so on, over the course of about 24 hours.
"I was getting a run in," said Sponaugle, 31, who finished in 18:13 and hurried off quickly to get warm and dry, missing the awards assembly.
Runner-up Jeremiah Downie finished in 19:45 and Mark Schmitt ran third in 19:57.
Corbett completed the 3.1 miles in 20:02 and Brummer 20:03. Twenty-two-year-old Lindsey Hollenshead finished in 22:23 for third.
Many other youngsters ran in a one-mile fun run.
Race co-director Dr. Mark Cucuzezella urged on the youngsters as they finished the race on a slight uphill, hollering over the loudspeaker as rain fell harder, "You're not cold; you're having a good time."
Which is part of the premise of the race - enjoyment and health.
And for a group of four, a break in their hiking routine.