Community supports thousands of runners during Lincoln Marathon

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Many roads in Lincoln shut down Sunday morning as 6,000 runners from all 50 states took to the streets for the annual Lincoln Marathon.

The finish line saw fewer contestants 46 years ago, when the marathon began.

“We’re talking about just a few hundred people back then,” race director Ryan Regnier said. “Before the pandemic, at the height of our numbers, we got close to 15,000.”

Pulling off an event this big takes months of planning and around 2,000 volunteers.

“Volunteers make up everything,” Regnier said.

One volunteer, Judy Flores, has been helping with the marathon for years.

This year, she could be found handing out water at mile 17.

She said it’s awesome to watch Lincoln unite to support the runners.

“The people on the sidelines really, really help, and so it’s just a great way to show that we care about our community,” Flores said.

Beyond those actively volunteering, hundreds of community members lined the sidewalks on the route, cheering the runners on or passing out snacks.

A common theme among marathon runners was their love and appreciation for how supportive Lincoln is during the marathon.

“There’s so much support,” half-marathon runner Elizabeth Sidwell said. “All the different stations, the families in Lincoln handing out water, cheering the runners on and like all the signs are awesome.”

And runners from out of state took notice of Lincoln’s hospitality.

Full marathon runner Zackary Widenor came from a town near Austin, Texas, and said Lincoln pleasantly surprised him.

“Lincoln is really nice,” he said. “The people are nice; it’s a very nice city.”

Many first-time marathoners say they’ll definitely be running Lincoln’s marathon again.

“It was really awesome,” Brook Lamkins said. “I just felt like Lincoln came together today.”

The marathon continued into the afternoon, with roads slowly opening up after 3 p.m. as the last racers made their way downtown.

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