Stormy skies delay Heart of America Marathon

Runners make their way down Providence Rd. during the Heart of America Marathon.

While most were sleeping in this Labor Day morning, over 200 runners were making their way through Columbia on a 26.2 mile trek.

The 55th annual Heart of America Marathon got off to a soggy â?? and late â?? start Monday morning. Since the race began in 1960, the start of the marathon has never been delayedâ?¦ until today. The 6:00 a.m. start time was pushed back an entire hour.

â??The only reason we had the delay was because of the possibility of lightning,â?? said Race Director Joe Duncan. â??The rain, thatâ??s not a problem at all. We go with the rainâ?¦ but not lightning.â??

While the lightning delayed the start, the rain didnâ??t dampen anyoneâ??s spirits. In fact, the showers and cloudy skies made for almost perfect running conditions.

â??Iâ??m glad they delayed it,â?? said Brian Winton, of Columbia. â??Thatâ??s the one thing I wouldnâ??t wanna run inâ?¦ so this is perfect weather for me.â??

â??This is kinda perfect. Iâ??m looking forward to it,â?? said John Venner, of Columbia. â??Itâ??s a good temperature; the sun will hopefully not come out. Rain feels great once you get a couple miles into it. So it should be funâ?¦ Iâ??m excited.â??

Another part of the race that the runners were excited for? The post-race gathering at Shakespeareâ??s Pizza.