For many attendees, the race is a way to reconnect with friends and family.
“We’ve got so many friends from our Panama City group here, which is what actually brought me to move to this area,” runner Susan McKenzie said.
McKenzie moved to Bay County because of the strong bond she has to the running group. She also met her husband through running.
“I almost always have a new Facebook friend by the end of a race,” McKenzie said.
Other runners traveled to Panama City Beach for the races.
“We leave the husband, we leave the kids, we do something for ourselves,” Kim Rhame, the leader of running group ‘RBR’ said. “We build up life. We eat, we drink, we walk, we run.”
Rhame and her running partners are longtime friends that first met in Singapore.
“We all met when we lived in Singapore,” Rhame said. “And that was in 2010-2011. And we decided to start a running group and run in different countries all over Asia. We’ve since all come back to America, Canada, all over. We get together one to two times a year.”
Others decided to get into running to help with mental health problems.
“I decided to run to deal with my postpartum depression,” Rebecca Aviles said. “So it’s kind of nice to have a little bit of bonding time with my family outside of being at home.”
Aviles was running alongside family members.