Runners crossed the finish line at the Church Street entrance to the Marietta Square throughout the sunny morning, as parents bundled up their babies in coats and blankets and friends greeted other friends' dogs with a scratch on the back.
The annual charity race, which is in its seventh year, featured a 1K, 5K, 10K and a Tot Trot for the pint-sized runners when it kicked off at 8 a.m. on the Marietta Square.
But the action started long before the crowds.
"The employees were here at 3 a.m. this morning helping to set up, and our 160 volunteers began gathering at 5 a.m. to help kick it off," said Gant Adams, co-chair for the race. "We had about 500 people sign up today, so we have far more runners than we expected but that's so exciting. We seem to grow by about 1,000 runners every year."
Adams attributed much of the event's popularity to the fact that it is one of only a few pre-qualifiers for the Peachtree Road Race, and for the fun and friendly atmosphere it provides for families who have come together for Thanksgiving.
"There are several families running together, or out here to support a family member, and some people just come out to watch and enjoy the day. It's just such a great event for everyone. And we couldn't have asked for more perfect weather," Adams said.
Co-chair Dawn McEachern said that the event is expected to raise close to $230,000 this year, all of which will go to MUST Ministries, a faith-based organization out of Marietta that provides services to people in need.
Pat and Johnny Torres of Acworth are two examples of family members who took advantage of the race on the Square. The father and son ran the 5K race together, finishing hand-in-hand.
"Ten of us came out, with our own family members and another family we're friends and neighbors with, to watch and cheer us on," Pat said.
Both enjoy running, but the father said their real goal for the race was to have fun and support a good cause. "This is our second year doing it together, and it's always such a great race, and helps people in the end. We did get timed this year, so we'll check that on the Internet later, but it's not really about the time. What better way to start your Thanksgiving than this?" Pat said, as he smiled and patted his son on the back.