SACRAMENTO, CA - As thousands of people crossed the finish line of the California International Marathon Sunday near the west steps of the Capitol, a handful of runners came in especially exhausted. It was not their first, but their second run of the 26.2 mile course within 10 hours.
"We're crazy about it, we're crazy about running," admitted runner Ed Ballisty. At 1 a.m. Sunday, he and runners Jason Harper and Ray Sanchez met at the finish line on Capitol Mall, and began running the CIM in the reverse direction.
In a sometimes heavy downpour, with no traffic guards and often dark road conditions, they worked their way east on L and J Streets into east Sacramento.
From there, they took Fair Oaks Boulevard nearly all the way to Folsom, where they arrived before 6 a.m. to find thousands of runners preparing to do what Harper and his group already done -- and were about to do again.
Run the 28th California International Marathon.
"It's good for the mind, good for the soul," said Harper. It's not the first time he's been on an ultra marathon event. Two years ago, to help support fund-raising efforts for his charity group "Be Change," Harper ran 100 miles in triple digit temperatures through Sacramento and El Dorado Counties.
That run ended at Oak Ridge Elementary School, the beneficiary of his charitable projects. Many of the students' families are unable to afford basic healthcare or other essential services. The "Be Change" group raises money for them, largely by collecting pledges for their long-distance runs.
Sunday's double marathon run by Harper was the latest installment among his list of charitable works.
"To stop running is not an option," he said. After completing the first marathon in just over four hours, the official marathon with the rest of the pack wasn't as easy for Harper and his team.
He suffered pain in his knee, and general fatigue. He was one of the last to cross the finish line, but said the 52.4 mile endurance run was worth it. He made it from finish to start, and back again, in less than 11 hours.
"It makes for a great day, it makes for a great memory that won't be forgotten," said Harper.
Between himself and the other members of his "Be Change" running team, Harper estimates the group raised about $60,000 for Oak Ridge Elementary during the California International Marathon.
Written by Will Frampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
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