ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Snickers Marathon attracts runners of various backgrounds and skill levels.
Some runners have run dozens of marathons under their belt. Others will try to finish their first tomorrow.
Nearly 1,600 runners are expected to race in the 10th annual Albany Snickers Marathon and half marathon Saturday morning. Though the runners differ in background, they are united under one goal - and that's finishing.
The Snickers marathon is considered one of the best races for runners trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
For that reason, many people travel to the good life city this time of year, hoping to post a good marathon time.
Atlanta native Margo Gregory didn't pick up running until she was 37. Just six days after running her last marathon, she'll complete in Albany for her 39th marathon.
"Being able to set short term goals and them realize them. It just became and addiction really. I felt like, what can't I do?" said Gregory.
Gregory ran as a volunteer pacer for the past two Albany marathons. This year she is using the race as a qualifier for Boston, which she has also ran the past two years, including the first one following the tragic 2013 bombing.
"It's a mythical place," said Gregory." And I was kind of touched. And the closer that I walked to the finish line I remember just seeing people in their moments. I saw people crying, I saw people hugging; holding hands."
That elation is what Ivey Hines wants to feel in the morning. The former Albany city commissioner is running his first marathon at age 62, but that's not his biggest obstacle. He has been vision impaired since 1977.
"Because there is someone who is willing to do my physical fitness training, to run me and get fit to actually run, and who would run with me, my vision is not a handicap," said Hines.
Marvin Oliver has run marathons in Japan, California, and even Hawaii. He says pain from a marathon is a good thing, and he hopes to recruit others in to experience it.
"Trying to recruit 50 people next year. They are first-timers that say they can't do it. And show them how they can do it. Teaching them how to compete is one thing. Teaching them how to enjoy it is another. We want to teach them how to enjoy it, then they can compete later on," said Oliver.
There are prizes awaiting the elite runners.
The first place winner for each gender gets $3,000, second place gets $2,000, and third place gets $1,000.