So when the 2021 Tobacco Road Marathon got underway Saturday at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, participants and their supporters rejoiced.
"All of them were excited! I mean, runners were so disappointed last year when we couldn't have the event, I'd say most of 'em understood but others were like, 'Let's just do it! We want to run,' and that's just the way runners are," said marathon spokesman Mark Dill.
ABC11 is the marathon's media sponsor, and brought live video updates to the home of viewers Saturday morning during the early newscast.
Dill said the organizers made some adjustments,
"To conform to the governor and health officials requirement for clusters of people, even outdoors. Of course, things are changing in real time. But you plan these events months in advance and there really isn't any way we could do it differently. We planned on having waves of a hundred but what we're finding people are just drifting in," said Dill.
Runners came to the park ready for action, and some brought a sense of humor.
Brian Rice, a fan of the Toy Story animated films by Pixar, dressed as Buzz Lightyear and said for Sunday's half marathon, "I'll be Woody, 'cause he has the big hat and they kind of go together. I usually run in costume, so that's how I picked these two."
Disney is the parent company of Pixar and ABC11.