The Twin Cities Marathon was back in its full glory on Sunday. The field of runners was purposely reduced for the 10-mile event and the full 26.2-mile marathon. But runners were enthusiastic, thousands of spectators lined the route from US Bank Stadium to the State Capitol in St. Paul, and former Minnesota Viking Alan Page was back playing his tuba.

It's become a thing of legend. His performance comes very early in the marathon and I wasn't prepared for it two years ago when I ran my first marathon. But this year I had my phone ready and even got a 'thumbs up' from him.

Roy Koenig/TSM

The course is quite pretty, winding around Minneapolis lakes and eventually up Summit Avenue. And by 'up' I mean uphill, not a welcome occurrence when your knee is aching. The sight of the finish line leading up to the Capitol is very welcome.

Roy Koenig/TSM

Thousands assembled for the 10-mile and marathon start at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings hosted the Browns Sunday. Interesting to see some media members start arriving at the stadium nearly five hours before kickoff. Most runners had a better day than the Vikings, who lost 14-7 to Cleveland and dropped to 1-3 on the season.

Roy Koenig/TSM

I'm not really sure how I was smiling so much in this shot, looking back at the Cathedral while arriving at the finish line. I was happy to complete the event, but was in a fair amount of discomfort.

Roy Koenig/TSM

Spirits seemed high for most runners at the start. There was great enthusiasm for an in-person marathon after a virtual event in 2020. About 4,400 runners started the marathon. Almost 3,200 finished. (Does that mean the other 1,200 are still wandering around the Twin Cities?)

The feeling "was a big party the whole 26.2 miles," according to a story in the Star Tribune.

Roy Koenig/TSM

The inspiration that spectators offer the runners is hard to quantify. Personally, I found it very motivating. The enthusiasm the fans cheered with was incredible. For us slower runners, to realize how long those spectators stay out and fired up, is truly amazing. 2020 was a virtual marathon. Reality is much better.

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