Runners focus on pushing through every ounce of their being to finish. One organization was intent on making the journey meaningful.

Almost 2,000 participants ran the Sioux Falls Marathon and Half-Marathon on Sunday. Executive Director Wes Hall of the Sioux Falls Sports Authority credits favorable weather and a solid support staff for a successful event. “It was a beautiful day for a run and we spoke to a lot of people that said they had a fabulous day. (We had) great volunteers and great support and a lot of people who had never been to Sioux Falls fell in love with the city.”

Hall notes that a few changes helped make the event better in his estimation. One of them involved the stadium as the setting for the final steps. “To actually finish on the track at Howard Wood Field to do three-quarters of a lap and then have your face on a scoreboard and the announcer saying when you cross the finish line it made a huge thrill for a lot of people.”

Hall provides a specific takeaway from one of the runners. “I had one woman who emailed me and said ‘I’ve never been an athlete but you made me feel like a pro athlete today.”

For this year’s event, about 450 runners took to the full 26.2 miles and almost 1500 ran 13.1 miles. In the future, Hall looks to the day where three times as many runners compete. “If we start looking at 5,000 half-marathoners and about 1,000 to 1,500 full marathoners, I think we’d be very pleased with those numbers. The city can handle that now. Over the next five years as the city grows, that will allow our event to grow even faster.”

Sioux Falls has been hosting a half-marathon for 18 years with a full marathon for the last six years. Next year’s event will be on the Sunday after Labor Day September 11, 2016.