For many runners who trained diligently for months, Sunday's Lincoln Marathon was the culmination of a dream.
For many other runners, who trained just as diligently, Sunday turned out to be a nightmare.
Well, those runners can thank Mother Nature.
As temperatures climbed early Sunday morning from the low-60s into the mid-70s, and as the humidity inched higher, many runners had a difficult time completing their tasks.
Some runners needed medical attention, and others were unable to fulfill their goals.
Bryan West Campus spokesperson Edgar Bumanis said 29 people were treated for marathon-related issues, 14 of those treated at Bryan West Campus and 15 treated at Bryan East Campus.
Most of those treated were runners suffering from dehydration or other heat-related problems.
"We're always ready," Bumanis said, "because over the years we now kind of know what to expect."
Marathon co-director Nancy Sutton-Moss said she wasn't happy with the heat and the issues it caused runners. The marathon organizers stationed additional medical personnel and about 2,800 volunteers throughout the course, as well as more water and ice than normal to help battle the heat, she said.
Organizers sent out email blasts before the race advising runners to hydrate and listen to their bodies regarding how to battle the heat, she said.
"I think we did about everything we could because we have been anticipating it," Sutton-Moss said. "Part of the problem is it's been cold and we're not used to running in the heat and all of the sudden it was just here."
Running before walking
It was a miracle that Andrea Zink survived her car crash.
Her car slammed into the back of a truck at nearly 70 mph on I-480 in Omaha Feb. 26, said her husband, Joshua Zink. Her seat belt likely saved her from head trauma.
She has been in a wheelchair since that day. Leg, pancreas, liver and colon injuries kept her at Creighton University Medical Center for two months before a transfer to Madonna Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln about two weeks ago.
She's working to regain the ability to walk again.
Andrea was going to run in the Lincoln Half-Marathon Sunday before the crash. Instead, her husband finished the Lincoln Marathon wearing a shirt with black letters that said "26.2 for my hero: Andrea." Andrea received a medal along with Joshua.
"Running a marathon is easy compared to what she's been going through," Joshua Zink said.
"It was just so amazing," Andrea Zink said. "I mean, I'm so proud of him. I knew he could do it.
Joshua trained for Sunday, cared for Andrea and completed his doctoral dissertation for musical arts throughout these last few months. He thought of her when the race felt tough.
"I just thought, 'She's in a wheelchair, you need to keep on kicking butt,'" he said.
"Thanks for the reminder," a passing runner wheezed.
"Good thing we're not crazy, right?" another shouted.
Each year, thousands of runners pass Dan Hautzinger's house on South Street for the Lincoln Marathon and Half Marathon.
Hautzinger enjoys cheering on the runners from his front yard. This year, he decided to mix it up a bit. Hautzinger stood on the grass next to the street and held up a hand-drawn sign that said "Only 10.5 to go...23.6 if you're crazy."
"I think people are more offended I'm reminding them they have 10.5 miles to go," Hautzinger said.
Hautzinger has run the half marathon before and would like to get back into running, albeit not another half-marathon, he said. For now, cheering on those who pass his house will suffice.
"We're kind of stuck here anyway," he said. "There's no way out of the neighborhood."
Flying on angels wings
A 12-year-old girl ran with her mother in body and spirit Sunday.
Addison Earnest ran the Lincoln Half Marathon with a necklace containing her mother's ashes. Her mother, Lynette Earnest, died of colon cancer Dec. 21. A little more than four months later, she was running for and with her mom.
"She decided she was going to do this and she put her mind to it," said Mark Earnest, Lynette's husband and Addison's father.
Addison and her twin brother, Austin, are both runners, Earnest said. Sunday's half marathon was the longest distance she had ever run, Earnest said.
Austin and Mark Earnest and relatives stood near a sign that read "Addison is flying on angels wings" on Harrison Street and waited for Addison to come by, tracking her progress with their phones. The words "When life gives you lemons, make Lynette-aide" brazened the back of their purple shirts.
After some time, Addison came jogging by also dressed in purple; a color honoring her mother. A small, silver pendant garnished her neck.
"It brings a tear to my eye," Earnest said. "It's very inspiring. I'm so proud of her.
For one Lincoln resident, simply watching other people run is enough motivation to stay in shape.
D.C. McCauley walked the Lincoln Half Marathon three years ago and has volunteered the past two years.
"It's good to see people out and being active" McCauley said. "It keeps you motivated to do your own fitness program."
McCauley was one of roughly 2,800 volunteers working the half and full marathons Sunday. McCauley was stationed near 20th and South streets Sunday morning.
A foot injury that occurred last year hampered his running, but McCauley ran a 5K as recently as Saturday.
While there have been some struggles along the way, watching the runners has re-sparked an interest in fitness.
"It's gotten me re-motivated, let's say that," he said.
About 30 minutes after the marathon started, police received a call that a woman wearing a purple shirt was banging on a what was thought to be a trash can while encouraging runners.
The man complained it was too early to be making such a racket.
Must have been his first marathon.