Jon Olsen and Samantha Schultz won the men's and women's divisions today in the inaugural Modesto Marathon, which began just after dawn in a flurry of leg-pumping downtown and meandered through city streets and the nearby countryside.
The weather was nearly perfect for the race, which began a few minutes after 7 a.m. with a temperature of 50 degrees and ended at mid-morning in bright sunshine with the temperature in the mid-50s.
Before the race, volunteers used flashlights and lamps as they checked in runners in the dark before dawn.
The runners stretched, chatted and posed for photos under the starting line banner.
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Hundreds of spectators cheered as astronaut Joe Hernandez of Stockton shouted "blast off" to signal the start of the race.
The elite runners, many of them hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon, led the pack eastbound from the starting line on M Street for the first steps of the 26.2 mile race. Half-marathoners and 5k racers followed.
A festival with music, food and other doings greeted the runners and walkers as they sprinted or staggered to the finish at 10th and M streets.
Olsen, in his mid-30s, is from Modesto. He ran the course in 2 hours, 43 minutes, 44 seconds.
Schultz, 29, of Stockton, ran it in 3 hours, 19 minutes, 10 seconds.
Salvador Garcia of Los Banos and Ali Klikna of Turlock won the men's and women's half-marathons, while Ruben Esparza of Riverbank and Ramona Sanchez of Sparks, Nev., claimed the 5k runs.
Check back later today for more details on the race, and be sure to pick up The Bee and return to modbee.com on Monday for more coverage.
Video below shows pre-race activity downtown.