ST. LOUIS - The 15th annual Go! St. Louis Marathon saw an estimated 15,000 runners participate in its full, half, and relay marathons Sunday. Runners laced up their sneakers for all sorts of reasons, some were rookies while others veterans. Few, if any, had as much experience as Rae Mohrmann. Mohrmann, in her early 70s, completed her 100th marathon this weekend.
Her first was in St. Louis in the late '90s as a 49-year-old. Unhappy with how she finished, she vowed to try again. The second time around she qualified for the Boston Marathon. Since then she has been back to "Beantown" seven times.
Images from Sunday's run
Mohrmann has spent the last 20 years criss-crossing the U.S., running marathons. In 2010, she reached a milestone of racing in every state in the Union. Her next goal was to complete 75 marathons before she turned 75. She accomplished that with years to spare.
Her latest goal was to reach the centennial mark, finishing 100 marathons.
With the finish line in sight, the emotion on her face was apparent, and as she crossed that line she was overcome. Immediately friends and family surrounded and congratulated her.
Two hours earlier, Richard Chelimo from Kenya finished the men's marathon in first place. He says he ran a relaxed pace today. When told of Mohrmann's impending accomplishment, he was in awe.
"Very, very impressive, that's a good spirit," said Chelimo.
Mohrmann was humbled when she heard what the men's winner said.
"He's the impressive one, I'm an ordinary person. He is the one that's awesome. I'm just disciplined and have perseverance," said Mohrmann.
Chelimo points out that Mohrmann and so many other runners at the marathon epitomize the strength we all have inside.
"Impossible is nothing. You can do anything you want to do," said Chelimo. "Nothing can prevent you, so long as you get up and do it."
Jackie Joyner-Kersee was also in attendance at the marathon. She was delighted the race took a new course through East St. Louis this year, and urged people to get up and get moving.
"You might not want to run, you can start with walking, but get on a program," said Joyner-Kersee.
As for the prospect of taking on a marathon, the gold medalist had some advice.
"You have to train for this, and I think it's very important that you go through the training," said Joyner-Kersee. "Get your body prepared, not only physically, but mentally what you're going to have to go through."