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Marathon Highlights Nashville's Best - John Dunn

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It is a night to celebrate for thousands of runners. The St. Jude Country Music Marathon was a huge success, and runners were able to see the best of Music City.

The runners arrived before 7 a.m. 30,000 strong were in downtown Nashville to start at a new location on Broadway. This is the 15th year of the Country Music Marathon, but the vast majority of the runners are here for the 13.1 mile half. Janis Painter has run it four times. "I love the atmosphere. I love the people out here, getting to meet new people, to do fun and exciting things," says runner Janis Painter.

Nearly 70% of the runners are from outside the Nashville area. They travel to Music City for a unique experience. "This is fantastic, this is the best we've seen in all the runs that we've done," says one runner.

Runners filled their corrals for a staggered start. The course takes them through downtown, Music Row, 12th South and the Gulch. Marathoners travel through East Nashville before finishing at LP Field. Live bands and cheering spectators are everywhere.

Organizers say the event has changed Music City. "It has become a huge deal both from a cultural standpoint and certainly an economic impact standpoint," says Tracy Sundlun with the Competitor Group.

The marathon is also changing lives at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 1,900 runners helped raise more than $1.3 million. "Whether they know it or not, the children are being helped, and it's a great thing for them to come out today," says St. Jude employee Stephanie Fowler.

With more than $38 million in economic impact, the Country Music Marathon offers Nashville something unique. It is a chance to showcase the city, and support a healthy lifestyle with every runner on every mile.

The racing isn't over in Music City. Sunday afternoon 6,000 kids will be running in the Kids Rock event.

For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn

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