Record-setting crowd of runners at Tulsa Run

TULSA - A recording-setting crowd of 10,000 runners packed the streets of downtown for the 35th Tulsa Run on Saturday.

The Tulsa Sports Commission, who took over hosting duties this year, wanted to bring in more participants and return the run to its early glory days.

"Twenty years ago the race had a national presence and our goal is to build it back to that presence  and  get it back to a 15K that a lot of national runners and elite runners want to participate in," said Ray Hoyt of the Tulsa Sports Commission.

Hoyt added the commission was surprised by the 60 percent registration increase this year, which forced registration to close early.

"For us [it] was way more than we expected," said Hoyt.

Runners also noticed a different course.

"It had some hills but a lot of it was flat, so it made for some faster times," said runner Jamie Cousatte of Pryor. "The crowd was still there, even though it's freezing cold and the wind is really cold. There was still crowd support along the whole course."

Chris Whittington has participated in a lot of Tulsa Runs.

"This is probably my 8th, 9th, maybe 10th time to do it," said Whittington. "This is my favorite run I do every single year. It's long enough to be challenging and short enough to be enjoyable."

Whittington said one thing that really makes the event great is the encouragement he gets from fellow runners.

"You've just got to team up with people. You'll start talking to somebody and they'll encourage you and you encourage them, so it's kind of a teamwork effort," said Whittington.

The Tulsa Sports Commission hopes next year will be another record-setting year.

"We'll build the race to be even bigger next year," said Hoyt.

For more information, including 2012 race results, click here.

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