Rain didn't dampen the spirits of the more than 3,600 runners who participated in the Prairie Fire Marathon, sponsored by Via Christi Health.
Nearly 600 men and women raced in the full marathon, 1,900 in the half marathon, and 80 in the Youth Marathon. Nearly 1,000 runners participated in the Wichita Mayor's 5K race.
The day of races on Sunday, October 9th, was capped off with 170 people joining the 1.2-mile fun run and walk sponsored by the Paige Estes Memorial Foundation benefitting the Via Christi Regional Burn Center.
Jared Estes started the foundation in memory of his wife Paige who was killed in March 2005 when their car was hit by a drunken driver. Jared himself was severely burned in the crash and treated at the Via Christi burn center.
Runners with ties to Via Christi fared well in the full Prairie Fire Marathon. Wichitan Tim Marshall, who won last year's marathon, came in second this year in a field of runners hailing from 36 states, Mexico, Canada, England and Japan.
Marshall's other claim to fame? Last year, his son, Felix, was the first baby born at Via Christi Health's new hospital on St. Teresa.
And Thomas O'Connell, whose mother, Delores, works for Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, won third place in the full marathon.
Glenn Fretz, the lone wheelchair marathoner, posted the fastest time, completing the 26.2-mile course just ahead of the overall winner. This was the first time that Fretz, a veteran wounded in Desert Storm, participated in the Prairie Fire Marathon.
Bob Hanson, Prairie Fire race director and president of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, said one of the most moving stories of the day involved a runner newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer who didn't know if she'd be able to run again.
Hanson said the woman completed the marathon with her personal best time. She cried when she crossed the finish line and said 'I beat cancer.'"